Archive for May, 2009

oswaldchambers“Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free …” (Galatians 5:1).

A spiritually-minded person will never come to you with the demand—”Believe this and that”; a spiritually-minded person will demand that
you align your life with the standards of Jesus. We are not asked to believe the Bible, but to believe the One whom the Bible reveals (see John 5:39–40). We are called to present liberty for the conscience of others, not to bring them liberty for their thoughts and opinions. And if we ourselves are free with the liberty of Christ, others will be brought into that same liberty—the liberty that comes from realizing the absolute control and authority of Jesus Christ.
Always measure your life solely by the standards of Jesus. Submit yourself to His yoke, and His alone; and always be careful never to place a yoke on others that is not of Jesus Christ. It takes God a long time to get us to stop thinking that unless everyone sees things exactly as we do, they must be wrong. That is never God’s view. There is only one true liberty—the liberty of Jesus at work in our conscience enabling us to do what is right.
Don’t get impatient with others. Remember how God dealt with you—with patience and with gentleness. But never water down the truth of God. Let it have its way and never apologize for it. Jesus said, “Go … and make disciples …” (Matthew 28:19), not, “Make converts to your own thoughts and opinions.”

We live in a country today that not only has to “keep up with the Joneses” but now we have to “keep up with the Kardashians” as well. You’ve probable heard this saying before “We buy things we don’t need, with money we don’t have, to impress people we don’t even know.” What’s sad is that at times we do even more to impress the people we do know. Our need to have more and more has gotten ourselves and our country into a pretty bad place. (And it’s not our President’s fault regardless of which one of them comes to mind) When I think about where I fit into that picture, I see that I’m much more a part of it than I would care to admit. But what else are we supposed to think? Everywhere we look people are telling us the only way to fix our economy is spend more. In order to spend more, we have to have more and want more. But how does God think that we should view our possessions?

A few days ago I posted some words that Jesus spoke during his life here on earth. I know it was about two thousand years ago, but it seems like his words are still as relevant today as they were back then. I’ve really been pondering the meaning of those words considering the economic situation we are in now as a nation. Jesus said:

“Don’t collect for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal. But collect for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves don’t break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

We commonly equate this passage of scripture with “working for the Lord” in order to retire comfortably in our heavenly retirement community with our heavenly pension plans funded by the “treasures” that we “laid up” in heaven all throughout our lives. But is it possible that this passage is just as much about the here and now as it is about our heavenly home? Could Jesus have been trying to teach us that the treasure in heaven is just as vital in this life as it is valuable in the life to come?

There is an interesting play on words in this passage that we miss in the English translations. The first two sentences literally say:

Don’t treasure treasures on the earth…but you treasure treasures in heaven.

Now think about it this way, not only did Jesus say don’t hoard stuff, but he said don’t even value the things (treasures) that are valued (treasured) on earth. Value the things that are valued in heaven. People commonly ask “how can we stockpile treasure in heaven?” Maybe, when we ask this question we miss the point. Could it be that it’s not so much about doing things to boost our “heavenly bank accounts?

Jesus says next that the point is that where your treasure is your heart is there also. In other words, what you value determines where your heart will be. This means that if you value what the rest of this world values then your heart will be with the world. However, if you value the things that are valued in heaven then your heart will be with God. Why does this matter? Because if you treasure what God treasures and value what God values, then you will love what God loves, see the way God sees, seek what God seeks, and do what God does. Opening an account in heaven doesn’t require a re-allocation of any assets, just a re-thinking of the things you treasure.

What would it look like if we all began to place our treasure along with our hearts in Heaven? I believe we will care less and less about what kind of car we drive or how big a house we live in or even how much money is in our 401ks. We will begin to love Jesus more than we ever have. We will seek out and love those around us whom God loves. We will help those who need it, regardless of their ability to help themselves or ourselves in return. I believe it would look like the kingdom of God has come to earth!!

I believe that the kingdom has come to earth and the only currency of any value in this kingdom is love. Treasure God; Treasure others, for God is love. (1 John 4:8)