UCAN sharing: Choices form the life
Scripture: I Cor. 3:10-15
8 Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ Phil. 3:8
John Paul Getty built the family oil business in an international, multi-million dollar business success. Yet Getty died with regret at not having been successful in marriage. His life and that of his family teach us that the choices we make have lasting impact on who we are and how we end this life. For Getty he failed and he knew that after five failed marriages he would never know the taste of a lasting relationship.
“I hate to be a failure. I hate and regret the failure of my marriages. I would gladly give all my millions for just one lasting marital success.” J. Paul Getty.
Getty spent his life doing what he wanted to do and following the desire of his heart which was to make money. He loved business and he made millions. To some he might seem this like a role model; someone to look up to and want to be like. Yet at the end of it all he failed and all his money was unable to cure the pain of that failure. Getty built his life on the wrong foundation. He devoted his life to the wrong priorities. It shows in his marriages but also in his failing as a father. Despite having access to the best the world could offer he built a life shack that has left a legacy of pain and suffering for his family.
Every person chooses what and who their heart focuses on. We decide what to invest our lives in and what becomes our passion. Jesus warns us to be aware of what we treasure because this is where you will put your heart. For J.P Getty it was money. The way he lived his life reflects this completely. When his grandson was kidnapped Getty refused to pay the kidnappers. His grandson remained with the kidnappers till they cut off his ear and sent it to a newspaper. Only then did the grandfather step in and cover part of the ransom. J.P loaned the rest at interest to the grandson. For where your treasure is there your heart will be also. Matt. 6:21
Christians can easily dismiss this kind of behavior as worldly and not relating to us but that ignores God’s truth that if we are not daily seeking His perfect will then we are living by our own will and this is the same as what Getty did. The Spirit of God can’t bear evil fruit because there is no evil in it. So if we are not honoring God and the things of God with our lives our hearts are focused on a treasure that is not of Christ. This means we still have not killed the flesh and its influence is seen in the fruit of our lives. The foundation of our lives is improper or perhaps it was never laid correctly to begin with so we continue to build our lives as we see fit.
Put to death, therefore whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. Col. 3:5
God through the work of Jesus has made the victory total but we must choose to receive it and walk in it with all our life. When we allow our hearts to cling to the things of this world we have not truly received Christ in to our hearts. The worldly things, money, security, pleasures or whatever have seduced us. We build with straw and hay which means we when we stand before God on the Day of Judgment these things will be burned and amount to zero. Yet many Christians live their lives with little difference to those around them. They struggle with fear, worries, sin and evil desires as if the work of Jesus on the cross is not enough to change a person.
The life of Paul the Apostle is a great example of what it looks when we are truly devoted to Christ. Paul when he was Saul experienced success in many areas. He had prestige, education and status in the eyes of men. He was intense about persecuting the believers even to having some imprisoned and killed. But when Paul was confronted with Christ on the road to Damascus his life changed totally. The treasure of his heart was no longer the religious traditions of his father’s but rather the opportunity to know and love Christ Jesus. He came to believe in Christ and pursue him whole heartedly. It was now God who made the decisions in his life and Paul found this to be a joy. He exclaims that everything he had before, and he had much, was trash compared to knowing Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ. Phil. 3:8 The focus here is not an idea or philosophy or something that is done. It is a person, the person of Christ Jesus. Paul is saying that Christ is more real and important to him than the entire world. Nothing comes close and Paul is willing to put those words in to action with his life. Paul no longer cared for his life here. His focus was on pleasing God and being with Him. Phil. 1:20-21 I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ is exalted in my body, whether by life or death. For to me, to live is Christ and to die gain. This is a stark contrast to J.P Getty, who lived for himself and from that lost much and gained little. Did Paul live a comfortable life free of hardship? Absolutely not! Paul suffered for Christ a lot but he counted it as acts of love to the one who had saved him. He kept going by always focusing on Christ and what lay ahead not what was being offered here.
Many Christians will allow themselves to be led away from being totally devoted to Christ by not denying themselves. Others will seek compromise, a half and half effort that produce a lukewarm life that bears little fruit and is entangled in the things of this world to the extent that they can’t focus on Christ. But for those who genuinely give themselves totally to Christ He will fill them and change them to be more and more like Himself. They will live here but have their eyes on heaven. The fruit of their lives will come from the Spirit of God and it will reflect this by a power to live with joy, peace and righteousness no matter the situation. This kind of life is dependent on one thing and Paul points us to it.
We all need to decide if we are going to love and seek God with all of our hearts. This means He must be the center of who we are. We can no longer live for what we want if we are His and he is leading us. Paul shows us that the devotion and commitment must be 100%. Any other way will result in a defective
relationship that is powerless because God is not in it. The covenant God makes with us is all or nothing. He commands this so that we will not be lost. Deu. 6:5, Matt. 22:37(emphasis added) Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. Old or New Testament the command has not changed nor will it. We must decide who we truly love.
Take time to consider the contrast between the two lives described above. Your daily choices reflect what really lies in your heart. If a person is genuinely given to Jesus they can no longer live as the rest of the world does. They yearn to live for Christ. The good news is that it isn’t too late. God longs to walk with you and relate to you personally. He stands outside the door of your heart knocking that you might let him in and enjoy fellowship with him. Examine your life and the fruits to see if Christ is truly the Lord of it. Seek Him with all your heart so that you may taste and see that He is worth everything. As you do He will meet you and carry you but it all begins by humbling yourself and crying out to Him. He is waiting to form a life in you that will last forever or you can continue to do it your way and have it burn up on Judgment Day. Meditate on this and decide. God’s grace to you.