“Now behold, one came and said to Him, “Good Teacher, what good thing shall I do that I may have eternal life?” So He said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God. But if you want to enter into life, keep the commandments.” He said to Him, “Which ones?” Jesus said, “‘You shall not murder,’ ‘You shall not commit adultery,’ ‘You shall not steal,’ ‘You shall not bear false witness,’ ‘Honor your father and your mother,’ and, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ ” The young man said to Him, “All these things I have kept from my youth. What do I still lack?” Jesus said to him, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.” But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.”
Matthew 19:16-22 NKJV
When one follows the Lord Jesus, one quickly comes to the realization that the values of the world we live in are contrary to those of God. In this world, we infer blessing in the lives of those who have much, for we think that because they have amassed the material things that they are somehow close to God.
In reality, those who have much are often possessed by those possessions, for their god is in the accumulation and not the blessing. Years ago I worked at Goodwill Industries as Workforce Development Counselor responsible for teaching people with disabilities to work.
My office was adjacent to the warehouse floor, so I walked past dozens of huge boxes referred to as gaylords, filled with items donated. Periodically I would walk past an item that I knew had great worth. I stood amazed that someone would cast off something so precious.
Reading Matthew chapter nineteen, I read of the rich young ruler, who came to Jesus looking for self justification. He approached the God/Man with flattery, calling Him good, having no real awareness of to Whom he was talking. Jesus hinted to Him His true nature.
“Now behold, one came and said to Him, “Good Teacher, what good thing shall I do that I may have eternal life?” So He said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God. “
I am sure the hint of the supernatural went over the head of the natural man. Jesus addresses the heart of the matter in naming off the commandments, all but three.
He did not name idolatry, the bearing false witness against one’s neighbor, or coveting.
“The young man said to Him, “All these things I have kept from my youth. What do I still lack?” Jesus said to him, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.” But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.”
The encounter with the Lord laid bare a major flaw in the nature of humanity, and the innate sinfulness that infects our hearts.
Many of us are idolaters, for we are apt at placing things, and even people, in our lives before God. We place our families, our possessions, our wants and our desires before the One who has provided those things to us. In our idolatry, we face continual moments of decision, where we can choose to serve the Lord, or serve ourselves.
More often than not we choose to serve our selves.
We bear false witness against others, seeking to gain advantage. Often people seek to use others as unknowing pawns in an effort to manipulate those nearest us. Many a time an unhappy spouse has used the fiction of a paramour to make the partner jealous.
In the world of life and business, especially in these days, people are regularly lied about and canceled, that those bearing the false witness amass great wealth.
The heart of having possessions is in coveting. We just completed a season that should be dedicated to the coming of our Savior, but has become coopted as an opportunity to covet, as we fill our minds with Christmas wishes.
When I consider the state of our world now, I can’t help but wonder if anyone can be saved.
“Then Jesus said to His disciples, “Assuredly, I say to you that it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. And again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” When His disciples heard it, they were greatly astonished, saying, “Who then can be saved?” But Jesus looked at them and said to them, “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.””
Matthew 19:23-26 NKJV
In the time of Jesus, it was believed that a sign of favor with God was the appearance of great wealth. For if one was rich, they must be receiving great blessing. The religious leaders of the day had great wealth, but lacked any favor with God.
As with all things, God’s economy is not like ours, for His was are not our ways.
““There was a certain rich man who was clothed in purple and fine linen and fared sumptuously every day. But there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, full of sores, who was laid at his gate, desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table. Moreover the dogs came and licked his sores. So it was that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels to Abraham’s bosom. The rich man also died and was buried. And being in torments in Hades, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.”
Luke 16:19-23 NKJV
““Then he cried and said, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.’ But Abraham said, ‘Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things; but now he is comforted and you are tormented.”
Luke 16:24-25 NKJV
Even now, and even in the church, there is an underlying belief that favor with God is shown through ones wealth and possessions, and there are indeed teachers who twist Scripture to lead many astray by such errant teaching.
Some of the richest people I have ever met were drug dealers, pimps, or politicians.
But brothers and sisters, I must tell you the truth: all too often the prosperity that you may be witnessing is not proof of favor, but compromise, for those who have sought to gain many things, have done so with much sin. They are like the rich young ruler, having kept the commandments but three, for they have idolized, they have slandered, and they have coveted.
It is through faith in God, and complete abidance in His word, that we have all that we need. Our need is not to seek after wealth, but to seek after Jesus. Salvation through man’s best is impossible, but through faith in Jesus, all is possible.
“But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.”
Matthew 6:33 NKJV
There is great glory awaiting those who look to the Lord, and eschew the possessions of this world. It is so easy to be possessed by those possessions, thus making them your God. In the times to come, the Lord will give glory unobtainable in this world.
“Then Peter answered and said to Him, “See, we have left all and followed You. Therefore what shall we have?” So Jesus said to them, “Assuredly I say to you, that in the regeneration, when the Son of Man sits on the throne of His glory, you who have followed Me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, for My name’s sake, shall receive a hundredfold, and inherit eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and the last first.”
Matthew 19:27-30 NKJV
THE PRAYER CHAIR IS OPEN! Send me your requests!
2 thoughts on “Possessed”
Will you please pray for a deer couple who are friends of ours, Adam and Brandy? They unexpectedly lost their 21-year-old daughter, Nikole Anderson yesterday, due to complications of juvenile rheumatoid arthritis. Thanks so much, brother!
LikeLiked by 1 person
LikeLiked by 1 person