Is deciding to live for Jesus trading up . . . . or not? Jesus would say finding and following Him is most certainly an upgrade in life. Make that the ultimate upgrade. That’s the essence of the companion parables in Mathew 13:44-45 where receiving eternal life and gaining the “kingdom of heaven” through Jesus is compared to finding a priceless treasurein a field and selling everything to possess it. The same principal applies to a fine pearl so valuable that one would give everything for it. In essence, Jesus is trying to drill home that while joining Him in the kingdom movement may cost us everything we “own,” we will gain everything that matters.
Tell me, how well do you think that concept will sell on the street today? It seems tough enough to find “followers” of Christ who are convinced that their faith in the God of creation and their unconditional acceptance by Him is worth more than anything this world could offer. We live in an age of “what have you done for me lately,” so what does His dying for me 2000 years ago mean to me as I scratch out life day to day? What does it really mean to you? Our re-routing to heaven where we are promised love, joy, purpose and reward may be a ways off for me, so how am I finding value and richness in the experience of living for Jesus until then? And how are you?
Personally, I think God intends for us to do His advertising for Him. In our transformation process which doesn’t necessarily chart lower left and perfectly ascend to upper right, we are to reveal His love, His goodness, His character and a growing exposure of the fruit of the Spirit as described in Gal. 5:22-23. The beauty of this is seen in living life with Christ as graphically as the Bible records its events. There is no “varnish” on the lives of biblical characters which glosses over their challenges and pratfalls, even their sin and restoration. When we accept the fragility and brokenness of our human condition and live authentically before others, not as “posers” or “Pollyanna’s,” we reveal the beauty and reality of the grace of God and the demonstration of His desire and power to renew us, starting from scratch. Who else does that?
People who are living with an absence of God consciousness, in outright rebellion to God, or who are following a god of their choosing, are difficult to loosen from their moorings. When you’re getting by solely with what you know and doing life “your way” is all you know, it usually takes something frighteningly strong or life shattering to break free. When people look at you and me and come close for inspection, what could we hope for them to see that will create a “jealousy,” to start them to want to know more about “what we’ve got?” It’s gottta look pretty interesting, maybe even sweetly different for them to consider asking about it, let alone consider pursuing God as “trading up.”
Maybe the real question today is not what do we need to be, to do or say in order to shake the little world around us to a realization that life in Christ is the richest experience one could experience now and forever. The real question to me, to us as followers of Christ, is whether we acknowledge and live like we truly have gained the very best life offers by exchanging life by ourselves for life in Christ. Have we “traded up?” Think About It.