A GOOD TRADE

This sent to me by the leader of the sexual assault support group I’m part of…Definitely deserved a spot on my pages. 🙂

Have you ever made a trade? We see kids doing this often. Trading cards are popular among early adolescents. If someone has something you really want you will often trade many other things to get that one thing you desire. I would watch in amusement as one friend would luckily get the card that everyone wanted. Each friend would take turns offering what they considered a fair trade. The one holding the “golden card” would sit in the control seat enjoying the offers that poured in.

Have you ever found something in life that you would have traded everything for?

Matthew 13:44
The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up. Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.”
Do I look upon the glory of God, displayed in Christ Jesus, as so valuable that I would sell everything else to get it? Am I really willing to consider everything else rubbish as compared to the glory of God in Christ? If so, then Luke 14:26-33 does not seem harsh at all, but truth:

“If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple. 27 And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.

28 “Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Won’t you first sit down and estimate the cost to see if you have enough money to complete it? 29 For if you lay the foundation and are not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule you, 30 saying, ‘This person began to build and wasn’t able to finish.’

31 “Or suppose a king is about to go to war against another king. Won’t he first sit down and consider whether he is able with ten thousand men to oppose the one coming against him with twenty thousand? 32 If he is not able, he will send a delegation while the other is still a long way off and will ask for terms of peace. 33 In the same way, those of you who do not give up everything you have cannot be my disciples.”

Do I consider being able to behold the glory of God worth giving up my husband, our children, my reputation, my life, my________? If I count the costs, do I consider trading my life in for the ability to seek and savor the glory of my God a “good trade?”

In the past, when I read Matthew 13:44 I thought of selling material possessions. I thought that the glory of God is of greater value than any material possession. What I am wrestling with now is not so much a willingness to give up material things…I will willingly lay those at the feet of Jesus…but a willingness to give up LIFE. Am I willing to let go of all my life experiences? Even more so, am I willing to give up those things that experience has taught me…in order to have Christ?

Am I willing to let go of pain and what that pain has done in my heart and mind in order to have Christ? Am I willing to let go of vengeance or unforgiveness in order to receive Christ? Am I willing to let go of my will and my desires in order to savor the glory of God? Am I willing to let go of feeling sorry for myself or to let go of my crutches? Am I willing to hand over my reputation and status, not giving any weight to what others think of me, so that I may gain Christ? Am I willing to die to all those things that life experience has taught me…that are Biblical LIES?

Do I count everything as rubbish compared to the surpassing knowledge of knowing Christ Jesus? Phil 3:8 If I can say yes to these things, then my eyes have been opened to see and savior the glory of God. However, if I cannot confidently say yes to these things then what needs to be done? What is holding me back? What do I need to throw off (Hebrews 12:1) or what is it that is contaminating (1 Cor. 7:1).

John Piper says, “The kingdom of God is reign not realm. He says the main point of Matthew 13:44 is that the kingdom of God is so valuable that losing everything of earth is a joyful, happy trade-off. “

What is “the kingdom?” It is the RULE of God in my life. It is when we are in the REIGN of God, which removes every obstacle between you and God.

What is the value of the Kingdom of God? The all powerful Creator exercises all His power and wisdom on your behalf to bring as much good into your eternity. It is the value of the Creator working on your behalf…the value of the all-knowing and all-powerful God being with you, the values of all the resources of the LORD being yours.

What does it take to consider this “good trade?” It takes Humility. Piper says, “Bankrupt people get the LORD.” “Blessed are the poor in Spirit,” (Matthew 5:3). You don’t get the kingdom of God because you earn it or buy it but because you desire it or want it MORE THEN ANYTHING!! How badly do you desire the Kingdom? Our God is a giving, not a taking, LORD. God loves to give, to give Himself and His kingdom, but only when you want HIM more than anything.
“In his joy he goes and sells all that he has.” It is FROM JOY that he sold everything!!! From Joy…not from duty ridden, burdensome, “I guess I have to do this thing” kind of mind set. That joy comes from understanding the value of the trade off.

So if you don’t “see” the value of this trade, but you want to, what can you do?

First, realize that in the flesh we seek selfish pleasure. Furthermore, examine your pleasures and where they come from. The pleasures that come from this world are short lived and unpredictable. When we live for pleasures from this world we are allowing our circumstances to control our pleasure meter…and circumstances are constantly changing and unpredictable.
On the contrary, what God has is unchanging and eternal.

Second, Seek the LORD FIRST, and with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength. Seek Him more than you seek anything else. For me this means to seek Him more than comfort—especially financial—to seek Him more than my “good” reputation, and to seek Spiritual health more than I seek Physical health—though the 2 go hand in hand while we are trapped in flesh.

Finally, realize that God offers righteousness to us through the life, death, and resurrection of His Son Jesus. Righteousness produces joy and peace. Righteousness produces confidence and contentment. Righteousness produces a steadfast strength and a hope of eternity with our LORD.

I think this is a difficult concept for us–or at least for me!

I love the Lord and I want to live my life for him but I struggle with the concept of giving up things (for why would he give them to us if he meant for us to give them away again?) But lately I am coming into a season in my life where I feel that it is more and more obvious that God wants me to give up all so that I can focus on him.

(I sure hope he doesn’t call me to give up my education…The good State of Ohio wouldn’t look too favorably on that…)

The realization that giving up people is just as important a thing to be able to do as giving up cars and houses and jobs and clubs. People are only important, but only in relation to one another. When a follower of Christ must choose between a person and the Lord, he must choose the Lord…and that has always been hard for me.

I hope that this devotional showed you something as it did me, and if not, thank you for at least reading, then.

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