Matthew 6:19-21 (NLT) 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.”
There are but three commodities existent in both Heaven and earth – faith, hope and love. We are warned not to store up our treasures here on earth for those things which can be contained may also be consumed by moths and rust among other things. The three assets of faith, hope and love are secured and guarded in the Kingdom. It is an investment beyond the here and now that will last for eternity. Where our treasure is – there our desire will be as well. Good talk!
Matthew 6:22-23 (NLT)Your eye is like a lamp that provides light for your body. When your eye is healthy, your whole body is filled with light. But when your eye is unhealthy, your whole body is filled with darkness. And if the light you think you have is actually darkness, how deep that darkness is!
Our eyes perceive the world around us. As long as our eyesight remains healthy, there is no problem. Over the last several years, my eyesight has been in sharp decline with a condition called presbyopia. Now before you assemble the saints of God to pray, let me assure you it is not fatal. My eyesight is changing due to a loss of elasticity of the lens of my eye caused by middle and old age. (Sigh) At first, it was subtle. If I just pushed my arm out a bit farther, everything came into focus again. However, as more time passed, either my eyes got worse or my arm got shorter so I began using reading glasses purchased at the local department store which worked for a while. When I could no longer see clearly without the readers, it was time for bifocals. Oh, the joys of getting older. Now I must wear contacts or glasses just about all the time especially if I am cooking, shopping or reading something that matters. Otherwise, I may add the wrong ingredient, pay the wrong price, or not fully comprehend that which I am attempting to understand.
Your eye is like a lamp that provides light to your body. The illumination of knowledge and understanding that will be used as wisdom comes through the perception our eye. The light that enters the eye creates an image that our brain perceives. We must also develop our spirit man/woman so that godly knowledge, wisdom and discernment are also applied so that the benefit of our choices are deposits into Heaven. The Light of His Love found in Jesus Christ, His Word and His Spirit are vital to expose any darkness hidden within us that may be keeping us from connecting fully with the Lord. Over time, as human beings, physical maturity sets in even if not mentally given. We grow up. Our body is born dying day by day. However, our spirit is born of salvation. We are given the Holy Spirit to nurture our body, mind and spirit so that our destiny steps over the lines of death and the grave into everlasting eternity. We must set our sights on Heaven.
I Corinthians 13:9-13 (NLT) Now our knowledge is partial and incomplete, and even the gift of prophecy reveals only part of the whole picture! But when the time of perfection comes, these partial things will become useless. When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child. But when I grew up, I put away childish things. Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely. Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love.
I am not perfect. My hope of becoming a perfect will not happen as long as I am alive. It is impossible until since is completely removed from my life. My soul is the only part of me that will ever achieve complete wholeness and perfection. Let that sink in for a moment. This world focuses more on our physical and mental state disregarding our spiritual well-being which currently is in sharp decline. We must all become good people. There is no higher calling to become godly people anymore. Even the church has stopped pushing and pressing us to greater things, because people just want to have a good life. The God life is to invest in a coming Kingdom with a soon and coming King. Nobody wants to wait.
I used to work really hard to be the best. My drive and motivation was to run things even though I didn’t realize it. My bullish tendencies wrecked many china shops along the way with total disregard for the feelings of others. I thought I was doing it all in the Name of Christ. However, the only things that God really wants to see in our life for now are faith, hope and love. These are the forever fruits sown by His Spirit so we are invested in Heaven.
One of the responsibilities in my workplace is proofreading. I read documents, mark errors and make corrections for other writers. I earn a living critiquing and editing. I know it is a nerdy job but for some reason I enjoy it. I like to make things better. I enjoy creating processes leading to greater success. God just wired me that way. However, if I am proofreading my own work, I tend to miss things. My attempts to perfect others are lost on myself. I tend to overlook certain mistakes because I am familiar with them. The examination of our life is quite the same. It is easy to point out the erroneous ways of others while missing our own weakness and imperfections.
Nobody is perfect except one. God is perfect. (Matthew 5:48) God’s Way is perfect. (Psalm 18:30) Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life. (John 14:6) His Word is perfect. (Psalm 19:7) The Lord’s Peace is perfect. (Isaiah 26:3) Jesus has been proclaimed the Champion of Faith and our Perfect Leader. (Hebrews 2:10) We have fallen short of God’s Glorious Standard of Living because we became imperfect due to sin. (Romans 3:23) But the Word of God promises that the one who endures to the end will be saved. (Matthew 24:13) How do we endure? Faith in God through Jesus Christ. When we invest our life to faith in Christ, we become fruitful and productive people both here as in Heaven. (John 15:5-7) Nothing we do for the Lord is ever useless when we abide in His Love. We are complete in Christ when we endure to the end holding tight to faith, hope and love letting everything else go just to know Him more.
“But when the time of perfection comes, these partial things will become useless.” When I read these words this morning, it was like dawn breaking in my heart and soul all over again. When the time of perfection comes…do you fight with being perfect? I do. Like Paul in Romans 7 struggling with the fact I know better but still do many things. The idea of the Holy Spirit completely taking over but somehow encountering opposition of old things, past sins, and bad habits that I thought had gone away. When I perceive my life comparing it to worldly standards, things are good. But when I compare my life to Christ, oh how much farther I have to go. The struggle is real. The enemy uses this conflict to try to deviate us from the Plan of God to make us victorious and prosperous in all things. It says in this verse that “these partial things will be useless.” I must learn to discern the things of worth to the Glory of God and those things that will remain impartial and die one day. It is not an easy task but with God’s Word and His Spirit I can try.
“Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love.” Thank you Lord for insight today into what really matters to You! My faith matters. My hope matters. My love for the Lord demonstrated in my love for others…all others. These are the investments of my life that contribute to forever. Nothing else matters. Everything else will end one day but these three things will last forever. They are eternal. When the rich young man asked what he must do to enter Heaven, he was okay with following God’s Instructions until the commandment was to sell all his possessions and give it to the poor to follow Jesus. He went away sad and dejected for he had many “things”. What is that thing keeping you from perfect faith, perfect hope, and perfect love? I am asking myself the same thing. I cannot be perfect. But it doesn’t mean I must not mature.
Philippians 3:6-9(NLT) I was so zealous that I harshly persecuted the church. And as for righteousness, I obeyed the law without fault. I once thought these things were valuable, but now I consider them worthless because of what Christ has done. Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christ and become one with him. I no longer count on my own righteousness through obeying the law; rather, I become righteous through faith in Christ. For God’s way of making us right with himself depends on faith.
When our son was undergoing chemotherapy for the first time, we stayed in a facility with other patients and caregivers going through the very same ordeal. All sick in their body with cancer. Most of the tenants were much older than our son. As we entered the dining hall, I could feel eyes on us filled with pity. One night talking with one of our friends in the lodge, she began to cry. She told me, “I deserve my cancer. I was a smoker for more than 30 years. What has he done?” (Referring to our son) “He hasn’t lived long enough to make bad choices. Why must he go through this horrible ordeal?” I stopped her and told her that she didn’t deserve this horrible disease either. I think as we grow older we begin to accept the consequences of disease or defeat based on our life choices…even Christians. God’s Grace is sufficient for me and all of my past transgressions. However the enemy wants to make us think that if we didn’t earn it than we cannot keep it.
Paul thought he was serving God in persecuting the Christians. After he met Jesus, he changed his ways repenting and turned to follow the Lord. What if he had given up or become discouraged? Surely everyone who knew him must have thought that he was a hypocrite. Paul was honest about his imperfect ways and his need for Jesus. Paul discarded everything else counting it as garbage compared to knowing Christ. Have I? Is there anything in my life that I hold more dear and precious than my relationship with Jesus? We must evaluate our walk daily for three things – faith, hope and love. Everything and anything else in my life that holds precedent or priority over these three qualities and achievements are worthless, useless garbage and not accountable to the Kingdom. I have these eternal qualities because of the Grace given to me through Jesus.
Philippians 3:12-14 (NLT) I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me. No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.
Our life is filled with partial images of perfection that too many times set the standard for our life. God’s Standard of Living comes after this life ends and when we step into forever. If the contents of my life do not include faith, hope and love, I have failed and will not see the eternity that I know long for. If I have not planted my faith, hope and love as my treasure in Heaven, I have nothing to yield from when I arrive. We complicate our life with routines, religion, tradition, and expectations not placed on us by the Lord. This viewpoint magnifies our imperfection rather than keeping us focused on His Perfection which offers a superb grace that sets every sinner free. We no longer get what we deserve. We don’t have to earn it. We must only endure this life of lesser things on a pilgrimage to perfection achieved in Christ alone. Lord, take my eyes off the worthless things and keep me focused on You today. Perfect that which concerns me as Your Word promises and I will do my best to follow You and accept Your Grace when I fall short. I am imperfect. My life is incomplete. I will not be discouraged or defeated by my inability to live a perfect life and be a flawless person but invest all my faith, hope and love in what I will be when I meet You face-to-Face.
Colossians 1:27-28 (NLT) For God wanted them to know that the riches and glory of Christ are for you Gentiles, too. And this is the secret: Christ lives in you. This gives you assurance of sharing his glory. So we tell others about Christ, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all the wisdom God has given us. We want to present them to God, perfect in their relationship to Christ.