Scripture: Matthew 13:44-46 The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field. Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it.
Devotional: Jesus demonstrates in His teaching that growing in Christ-like character is worth our 100% commitment. There is no half-hearted way to be conformed to the image of God’s Son.
The two men illustrated in Jesus’ stories were all in. They sold everything to gain that which held the greatest value. To know Jesus, to love Him, follow Him, to serve Him, to grow in Him and be changed by Him, is worth every ounce of devotion you can bring to it.
Perhaps it’s time to really consider what that means. It’s a hard teaching, particularly amidst a life when stuff happens.
Remember the number of people who were part of the crowd who followed Jesus, who then dropped out?
“On hearing it, many of his disciples said, “This is a hard teaching. Who can accept it?” … From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him. “You do not want to leave too, do you?” Jesus asked the Twelve.
Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life…” (John 6:60, 66-68).
Consider how John Ortberg characterizes this whole-hearted devotion: “You mean I'm supposed to alter my lifestyle for the sake of the poor? I'm supposed to read the Bible when I could be watching TV or going online? I'm supposed to be praying when my mind wanders all over the place, and it's kind of hard, and I don't know if it's going to do any good? I'm supposed to confess about my secret temptations and my embarrassing struggles when that would be humiliating to me, and I don't have to do it? I'm supposed to go to other people when I've hurt them or done something wrong and actually make it right when it would be costly, and I would rather not do it? I'm supposed to ask God to discipline my thought life from one moment to the next? I'm supposed to ask God to change my verbal behavior? I'm supposed to surrender my will, give up my autonomy, say to another being in the universe, 'Not my will but yours be done,' moment by moment, hour by hour, every day, every week, every month, every year of my life?
Yep, that's what I mean. That's what I'm saying. That's exactly right”.
If we want to look like Jesus, we have to act like Jesus. We don’t manufacture growth in Him. But when we pursue Him with one hundred percent devotion, His grace brings power that makes growth happen and enables us to flourish when stuff happens.
- What holds you back from one hundred percent commitment to growing in Christ-like character?