Archive for the ‘possession’ Tag

What good deed must I do to have eternal life?   Leave a comment

CamelThroughNeedlesEye

It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of God!” Mat 19:23

Context: Jesus was about to leave for Jerusalem and a man came running and knelt down at his feet to ask a important question (Mark 10:17-22)

Who was this man? The Gospel of Luke (18:18) tells us that he was a religious leader and Matthew precised that this man was young and rich(Mat. 19:22).

In our era we could say this was the perfect guy any woman would like to marry or the right businessman to make honest deals with.

We discover in these verses that the man was humble and was sincerely seeking for an answer to a question which was a matter of utmost importance to him. His question was simply: ‘How can I get into heaven?’

If he was sick and old we could understand that it was a legitimate question to ask before dying, but here it was a young man which still had vitality and time. Though he was a religious leader, he came with humility and considered Jesus as the teacher who could taught him what to do. The question that this young man had did not just pop up suddenly and caused him to run. I believe that for quite some time he tried to answer this question by himself but nothing worked.

Before getting to the the subject, we can see through this scene, the soul of  a man which says: ‘I am religious, know well God’s laws and obey them but still I feel unsatisfied and not at peace in my heart. I still do not have the peace and conviction that I will go to heaven. Why?

I call this situation the Desperate Soul’s syndrome. He was rich but his soul was still unhappy. His flesh was satisfied with the things of this world, his religious conscience tried but in vain to reassure his soul of salvation but that soul kept lamenting and be desperate. The flesh wanted to fool the soul by saying ‘My soul, you have enough stored away for years to come. Now take it easy! Eat, drink, and be merry!‘ Luke 12:18

The soul no longer wanted to be fooled. The soul’s desire was not quenched with worldly things and kept tormenting the young man with this question: ‘Where will you make me spend eternity, heaven or hell?’ To this question, the young man had the answer but not the one his soul wanted to hear. This man probably heard Jesus’ teachings before and he knew that Jesus was kind of a doctor who could tell him what he could do to calm down his soul.

Jesus often liked to unroll little by little His plans when talking with people. For example he did not tell the Samaritan woman that she had 5 husbands at the beginning of the conversation, nor did he grant the request of the Canaanite woman at first request(Mat 15) . He wanted the woman who had a blood lesion to reveal herself instead of clearly stating that it was her. Even though he knew there were just a few bread and fish, He asked his disciples how all the thousands people will be fed.

Jesus knew why the rich man came but told him a first answer which He knew the man tried and did not work. Jesus told him: ‘Keep the commandments’.

So the man retorted, OK but which one? The commandments are divided in 2 parts, the first 4 related to God and the last 6 related to man. By mentioning the latter, Jesus again mentioned answers He already knew and practiced:

Do not murder, Do not commit adultery, Do not testify falsely ,  Do not steal and Honor your parents.I obeyed these like many people. Well, even the respectable atheist has a code of conduct and honor his parents, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not testify falsely and do not murder.

Sigh, “I’ve obeyed all these commandments,” the young man replied. “What else must I do?”

Now comes the crux of the answer which I believe is related to the first 2 commandments – relationship with God. The rich young man was a religious leader and I believe he observed the Sabbath and probably did not misuse God’s name. However, he did not realize that he was violating the first 2 commandments which dealt with having no other gods. The rich man’s problem was that the god of money,Mammon, invaded his heart and kept him away from God. His possessions made him idolatrous. To deal with this gangrene in his heart, it had to be removed and this caused him a heartache.

When Jesus heard his answer, he said, There is still one thing you haven’t done. Sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” Luke 18:22

Adam Clarke said of this verse:

If thou wilt be perfect – Τελειος ειναι, To be complete, to have the business finished, and all hinderances to thy salvation removed, go and sell that thou hast – go and dispose of thy possessions, to which it is evident his heart was too much attached, and give to the poor – for thy goods will be a continual snare to thee if thou keep them; and thou shalt have treasure in heaven – the loss, if it can be called such, shall be made amply up to thee in that eternal life about which thou inquirest; and come and follow me – be my disciple, and I will appoint thee to preach the kingdom of God to others. This was the usual call which Christ gave to his disciples

What does cupidity means in biblical perspective?

In my opinion, it is not limited to the amount of possession but also about storing up more what is needed for personal use. Storing up more what is needed is then cupidity or greediness. One can be a millionaire without being avaricious and one can possess little and be avaricious. To this Jesus said:

Don’t store up treasures here on earth, where moths eat them and rust destroys them, and where thieves break in and steal. Store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal. Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be. Mat. 6:19

To be rich, therefore, is in general a great misfortune: but what rich man can be convinced of being miserable?

The trade off for the rich man was: Should I get rid of the possession that gives my flesh comfort to possess the peace of soul possession cannot offer?

It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of God!

Posted May 13, 2017 by Cedric in My writings (English)

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Epistle to the Hebrews (13:14)   Leave a comment

Epistle to the Hebrews

Epistle to the Hebrews

For this world is not our permanent home; we are looking forward to a home yet to come. .” Hebrews 13:14

Our author would like to remind us about our hope in Christ and to keep our eyes on our heavenly rest.  When our basic needs are shouting for attention, we quickly turn our eyes away from heaven. We have legitimate commitments to our work and family and these responsibilities quickly make us lose sight of our destiny.  A father responsibly toils hard to take care of his family and provide them a comfortable home to live. Paul encourages Christians to be hardworkers and not be lazy (1 Thes 4:11, 2 Thes. 3:10).

Even while we were with you, we gave you this command: “Those unwilling to work will not get to eat.”Yet we hear that some of you are living idle lives, refusing to work and meddling in other people’s business. We command such people and urge them in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ to settle down and work to earn their own living.”

The apostle also recommended that we take care of our family: “But those who won’t care for their relatives, especially those in their own household, have denied the true faith. Such people are worse than unbelievers.” 1 Tim 5:8

It is clear in the scripture that Christians should be models in their work and family. We should be careful though of not setting our priorities on these temporary things. What we do for a living and our commitment to our family should rather be in perspective of eternity.

What good is it to work hard to give our family a castle when an ordinary home would have brought the same peace and security? The investment made on huge projects could have been used for God’s kingdom instead.

Jesus knew the influence that possessions had on man’s heart. So He said:

Don’t store up treasures here on earth, where moths eat them and rust destroys them, and where thieves break in and steal. Store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal. Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be” Mat 6:19-21

Let us today consider what we have been doing with the money and time God blessed us with. Are we wisely using what God entrusted us in light of eternity or did we ignore God in our plans. Man’s heart naturally wants to store up treasures because he thinks that will give him peace and security. Our Lord wants to free us of this burden of securing our future. He does not want us to worry about these things but trust that He will provide. We all know what Jesus said about seeking God’s kingdom first but it’s much easier to take our destiny in hand than living by faith.

So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. Seek the Kingdom of Godabove all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.“So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today. Mat 6:31

Dear readers, today’s trouble is enough for today. Why trying to add up future problems? We are not in control of our future. There’s no guarantee that we will be able to accomplish what we meticulously planned today. We should first start to acknowledge with a humbled heart that we are not in absolute control of our destiny. But our good Lord knows  everything, so why not trusting Him? Doing Jesus’s will is not going to make you neglect your work, ministry and family. Jesus is not going to drag you in a pit but rather bring you in green pastures.

There’s nothing we will do on this earth which will remain permanent. In fact, the book of revelation already said that this earth will completely be destroyed. The only things that will stand through eternity are the deeds we did in light of eternity. What you invested in God’s kingdom is secured and will be rewarded.

Paul said: “Anyone who builds on that foundation may use a variety of materials—gold, silver, jewels, wood, hay, or straw. But on the judgment day, fire will reveal what kind of work each builder has done. The fire will show if a person’s work has any value. If the work survives, that builder will receive a reward. But if the work is burned up, the builder will suffer great loss. The builder will be saved, but like someone barely escaping through a wall of flames.” 1 Cor 3:12

We will use solid materials to give our family a secure place. How are we serving God? Do we use gold or straw to build God’s kingdom? If our eyes are fixed on earthly things, our contribution to God’s kingdom will be poor.

Jesus said in Mat 16:24, words of wisdom that really touched my life many years ago:  “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross, and follow me. If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it. And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? Is anything worth more than your soul?” Mat 16:24

Jesus also told us about the rich fool who said to himself:

I’ll sit back and say to myself, “My friend, you have enough stored away for years to come. Now take it easy! Eat, drink, and be merry!“But God said to him, ‘You fool! You will die this very night. Then who will get everything you worked for?’“Yes, a person is a fool to store up earthly wealth but not have a rich relationship with God.” Luke 12:19-21

Investing in our relationship with God is something rewarding and permanent.  Today is the day to surrender all these sins of greed and have faith. Let us today ask God for wisdom so that the decisions we make today for our family, work and ministry have eternity as perspective.

Posted October 1, 2013 by Cedric in Theology

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