Money, fame, popularity, comfort, satisfaction, pleasure, peace, rest, hope, life, purpose: the world longs after these things – they hunger for them – yet their expectations are never fully met.
Almost every week, I hear a new story about another famous couple who has split up and/or another scandal that has taken place among the world’s elite.
Among those with fame and riches, scandals seem to be unavoidable. Like marked money or an ink-tab on stolen clothes, riches gained will stain the hands that hold them and turn on the ones who gained them.
Many of those who are rich according to the world’s standards may never stop to consider who they are serving through their pursuits. They don’t stop to consider that they are either serving God or the god of this age, and that they cannot serve both. (Matthew 6:24) There are some who gain riches and put their resources to use in growing the Church and encouraging the saints, but the pull of money and fame is strong; as evidenced by many famous, fallen preachers, which I will not mention by name here.
As I was thinking of how riches and fame seem to invariably lead to scandal and falling from grace, I was reminded of two verses: Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall, (Proverbs 16:18), and Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring. (Proverbs 27:1)
Riches are not a prerequisite to pride.
Whether you have little or much, pride will be evident in your life. Money simply affords greater opportunities to use that pride for your own destruction and the destruction and sorrow of those closest to you. And whether you are famous or not, you may still have great plans and dreams for the future.
I am not much of a planner, but I have some pretty cool things planned for this summer. But the end result of my plans is not dependent upon my strength or will, but entirely upon the will of my Father in Heaven. He decides the measure of my days. All I have control over are the decisions I make; my actions. As Paul said in Philippians 2:12-13; Wherefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God Who works in you, both to will and to do of His good pleasure.
Though working out my salvation with fear and trembling sounds like a daunting and unpleasant task, yet it is God Who works in me, both to will and to do of His good pleasure. My strength has nothing to do with it, just this choice; whether I will accept God’s leading or reject His leading.
I could easily pursue my own selfish desires and all that the world says I need, but the world would leave me in the dust and muck of my pride; feeling empty and unfulfilled. And that would be a sad part of my life’s story, when in Christ I have been shown the path of life. In His presence is fullness of joy. At His right hand, there are pleasures for all of eternity. (Psalm 16:11)
This world, and the success it sells, is worthless compared to knowing Christ.
Fame is not worth the sacrifice of the soul; neither is fortune.
And when Jesus had called the people unto Him, with His disciples also, He said unto them, “Whosoever will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it, but whosoever will lose his life for My sake and the Gospel’s, the same shall save it. For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of Me and of My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him also shall the Son of Man be ashamed when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels.” (Mark 8:34-38)
It’s okay to want to be comfortable and to not have to worry about money, but when you fully trust Jesus and pursue Him, then your worries will be laid at His feet, and your rest will be found in His presence. That is not to say that you will never worry or never get tired, but you will worry less and you will grow in faith, grace, and strength, in spite of your circumstances. When you have nothing, you will not give into the temptation to steal, but will be generous with what you have, because God is your Father. When you have an abundance of earthly riches, you will not give into the temptation of loving money, but will stand for Christ and be generous with what you have, because God is Your Father.
Only through Christ can you claim victory over the temptations of this age and receive the priceless crown of life; that is worth any price you have to pay. But any price you have to pay is so small compared to the joy of knowing Christ and the hope of His Heaven.
I wrote, “His Heaven,” because Jesus has opened Heaven’s gates through the power of His blood.
Our eternal destination was once impossibly far from Heaven, but we have now been brought nigh by the blood of Jesus Christ. (Ephesians 2:13) That is why the pursuit of anything less than Jesus is worthless, fruitless, and hopeless.
All the hope for humanity, all our hope for eternity, rests on the powerful shoulders of our Creator God.
He did not have to build a bridge to Heaven through His own flesh. He could have simply told us to obey Him and rightfully expected perfect obedience, but His love and compassion spanned time and space. He chose to touch the untouchable, to give grace to the humble, and to save the ones who felt they were too far gone. This knowledge should soften the hardest hearts, bend the stiffest necks, and open blinded eyes, but in this world, there are many delicious distractions; things that taste good on the tongue, but turn to sourness in the belly.
Too many people find out too late that the food they have enjoyed all their lives has been killing them.
If you are reading this, and have not found salvation through the blood of Jesus Christ or submitted to the leading of God, this is your wakeup call. This world and all the beautiful things it holds is not worth the loss of your soul. Your life is precious in God’s eyes, and your soul is only saved through His strength. And He does not want to save you only for the joys of Heaven, but He wants to place Heaven in your heart today through the power of His Holy Spirit. By His strength, you can be holy and do what is right today; but only by His strength.
May you surrender your life to Jesus today, and find rest, joy, and purpose in His presence.
Dear Jesus, thank you for teaching me again and again how You are worth everything I have to give. Help me to remember all that You have done for me, and never take a single one of Your gifts for granted. I am undeserving of Your grace, yet Your grace flows over me, underneath me, and all around me. You have covered my sins and continue to sanctify me for Your Kingdom’s cause. Give me a heart that bows to You first, and continues to submit to Your will. And give me a mind that is stayed on You.
Abba, You have made me whole and lovely, and I am so grateful for all You have done and all You have yet to do. Amen.
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