What are you willing to give up to be like Jesus? What keeps you looking away from Him? Get rid of it!
1 Better a poor person whose walk is blameless than a [rich] fool whose lips are perverse.
We define rich in this world as money, houses, land, possessions, position, power, health, and who we know. Solomon, who had all of these, said that it is better to be poor and walk blameless with the LORD than to have everything this world has to offer and to be at odds with the LORD. Jesus used extreme language concerning things that cause us to look away:
Matthew 18:8-9 “If your hand or your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life maimed or crippled than to have two hands or two feet and be thrown into eternal fire. 9 And if your eye causes you to stumble, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into the fire of hell.”
Jesus knew what He was talking about. It hadn’t been very long since Satan tempted Him with the same temptation:
Matthew 4:8 Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. 9 “All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.” 10 Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.'”
Jesus’ response should be the same response for all of us. Regardless of the “setbacks” it will cause, it’s worth it in the long run. Jesus had spent much time in prayer and preparation for His time of temptation. We must do the same. We never know when that BIG temptation will come, therefore, we must stay alert and be ready by staying close to the Father. Most of the time, the BIG one comes after a series of little ones. If we avoid the little ones, then the BIG one loses its punch. And look at what we gain: His love, His joy, His peace, His mercy and grace, His family, and His hope!
1 Peter 5:8-11 Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. 9 Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings. 10 And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. 11 To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen.
Let’s focus on the things that will last: Our relationship with the Lord and with His people. Let’s enjoy Him and our spiritual family this morning at our respective places of worship.