This week Michael writes: To get to the heart of a person, you need to ask the right questions. Do you read your bible enough? Do you go to church enough? Do you give enough? Do you love your spouse enough? How do you know when enough is enough? An honest person will conclude that in my own power, I can never do enough to please God and to keep His commandments. As pride-filled people, we don’t want to be ministered to. We don’t want to be helped because the culture has taught us that we should be self-sufficient.
According to Ephesians 2:8, “For by grace are we saved by grace, and that not of ourselves, it is the gift of God, not of works lest any man should boast.” The righteous (those who have been saved through faith) are righteous because of the righteousness of Jesus Christ. For he who knew no sin was made the perfect sin sacrifice on our behalf that we may be made the righteousness of God in him” – 2 Corinthians 5:21.
The Scriptures relate a story of a king who invited many of his subjects to come to a wedding feast. One of the invited guests came to the feast, but didn’t wear the white robe that the king had provided for the occasion. Likewise, when we try to approach God’s presence in the robes of our own flesh, and by our own accomplishments and pride, the Lord will say, “depart from me, I never knew thee.” To understand what it means to be “God’s people”, we must forsake our pride and, as the Holy Scripture says, “put on the Lord Jesus Christ.” After we have been “born again”, God has given us His righteous robes to come boldly into the presence of our heavenly Father. As Isaiah said, “Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow.” We need to acknowledge that we are righteous, not in our own flesh, but only by His grace. When we attempt to work our way to heaven, we’re riddled with guilt and shame. In the filthy robes of my own flesh, we cannot approach the throne of grace. When we condemn ourselves, we believe the devil’s lie instead of the truth of the Word of God. Repentance is to turn from our sin nature and unto the righteous nature of God in Christ in us. Prayer is the means by which God will break the power of our carnal sinful nature.
According to the gospel of Luke, Jesus said that there are three things that people need to do in order to be His disciple. First, Jesus said, “unless a man forsakes all worldly things: his family… his wife and children, his house and his possessions, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple.” You can’t say “I love you Lord,” until you make Him the first priority in your life. When we love Him above all, our other relationships will be blessed. But seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness and all these (other things) will be added unto you.
The second thing Jesus said was, “you must take up your cross and follow me.” This does not refer to the physical cross upon which Jesus was crucified. Rather it is the cross of our identity with Christ. As Paul said, “I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believes. For unto those who do not believe, the preaching of the cross is the stench of death unto death, but to those of us who have been born again, it is the sweet smelling fragrance of life unto life.”
The third thing to be a “true” disciple is that we must give up everything in service to Him. Only then will we understand what it means to become the “righteousness of God in Him.” Only then will we understand that Christ is our sufficiency. All He asks is a surrendered heart. This is what it means to make Jesus Lord of my life. For in Him we live and move and have our being. Without Jesus Christ, there is never enough. Jesus Christ is the fulfillment of God’s promise that God Himself is our provision and that He will provide.
When is enough, enough? Is it the world and everything in it? For what doth it profit you if you gain the whole world but lose your soul? My sufficiency is only in Him. What needeth thee? All I need is thee. You can have all this world … just give me Jesus.
May God richly bless you!
Your brother in Christ, Michael
Your brother in Christ, Michael