Are You desiring Too Little?
Matt 19:29: And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life.
The call to live the Christian life is a call to follow Christ. It’s a call to take up ones cross as he did and to surrender to the will of the Father. It’s a call to a life of total obedience. And yet connected to this call to live the Christian life is something that we sometimes miss - an appeal to desire. It’s not an appeal to earthly desire, but rather to a desire for something greater than anything this world can offer. Yes, we are called to deny ourselves, but not as an end in itself.
Let me explain what I mean by looking at the example of Jesus. He denied himself. He took up His cross. Did he want to? No. He said, “Father, if there’s any other way, let this cup pass from me.” Father, I don’t want to do this, he said. But he did it. He denied Himself and took up His cross, not for the sake of self-denial as an end in itself, but as a means. Not as the destination, but the road. What does Hebrews 12 say?
Heb 12:2: Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
He did it for the joy set before him and he calls us to do the same. In John 15 he calls us to a life of obedience. Why? For joy.
John 15:10-11: If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father's commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.
One of all time favorite C.S. Lewis quotes is found in an essay he wrote entitled The Weight of Glory. He writes:
“The New Testament has lots to say about self-denial, but not about self-denial as an end in itself. We are told to deny ourselves and to take up our crosses in order that we may follow Christ; and to nearly every description of what we shall ultimately find if we do so contains an appeal to desire. If there lurks in most modern minds the notion that to desire our own good and earnestly to hope for the enjoyment of it is a bad thing, I submit that this notion has crept in from Kant and the Stoics and is no part of the Christian faith. Indeed, if we consider the unblushing promises of reward and the staggering nature of the rewards promised in the Gospels, it would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.”
Jesus calls us to surrender all. He calls us to surrender all our possessions, all our dreams, all our ambitions, and even our very selves. But he calls us to this not so that we can be destitute, but so that he can give us the true riches. The question is not are you desiring too much, but are you desiring too little? Are you a half-hearted creature? Are you far too easily pleased?
Jesus said, where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. Let us take some time today to ask the really difficult questions of ourselves. Examine your life. Where have you drawn the line? Where have you said, Lord I will obey you, but only up to this point? Is there any area of willful disobedience in your life? But around these questions let there be this central question – where is your heart? Where is your treasure? What are your eyes fixed on? Are they fixed on earthly things or on the joy set before you? Desire is not bad. The question is, are you desiring too little? Don’t settle for less than God’s absolute best for you!
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