When life gets the best of me, my first response is to find solace in a chocolate bar. And oh, the desolation, when supplies run low! I sometimes rummage through the entire house in hope of finding a forgotten morsel. How silly and senseless of me to seek comfort in food, rather than in Christ! During the last month I have chosen to forgo chocolate in hope of learning to run to Jesus when times get tough. It has not been easy to change old habits, but it has helped me to realize that I am only skimming the surface of what Jesus is really desiring me to surrender.
In Matthew 13:44-47 Jesus uses two parables to explain the necessity of giving up everything for the sake of receiving God's kingdom:
"The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up. Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field. Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls, who, on finding one pearl of great value, went and sold all that he had and bought it." (ESV)
One thing must be clear: when God wants us to give up everything, he is neither greedy for our possessions, nor does He desire us to suffer want. On the contrary! He wants what is best for us and he is able to fulfill His promises. Therefore Jesus is asking:
Will you abandon your striving to earn God's favor
so that I can shower you with loving-kindness and compassion?
Will you stop wrapping yourself in unforgiveness, bitterness and vengeful thoughts,
so that I can enable you to love Me and others through experiencing My forgiveness and love?
Will you give up your desire to make a name for yourself,
so that you may experience the beauty of following the plans and talents I have prepared for you?
Will your choose not to concern yourself with pleasing others,
so that you may know the comfort of belonging to the One who desires you?
Will you cease to be anxious about your daily needs,
so that you may know the peace which comes from trusting in My provision?
Will you submit to My will in your marriage,
so that I may show you the riches of My counsel?
Will you surrender your control over your children,
so that you may rest in the assurance that I love them even more than you do, and am able to do far more than you could ask or imagine?
Jesus knows that the things we hold so dear are just emptiness and filth - and yet we grasp them so tightly. He wants us to loosen our grip on our false wealth so that we may embrace Him instead. The only true treasures come from Him. It is up to us to surrender our ashes for the beauty which Christ has in store for us.
That is so much better than chocolate!