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Wednesday, September 17, 2014

The Great Exchange

2 Corinthians 5 : 21, For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. NKJV
You can’t fill something that is already full. Therefore, when we come to Christ desiring that He fill our hearts with His love, peace, goodness, and glory, we must first be willing to give up anything that has control of our hearts. In Matthew 6, Jesus tells us that we can’t serve two masters. He also instructs us to seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness.
There is an exchange that takes place when we answer the call of God to follow Him. We first have to forsake any fleshly desires that might hinder us from seeking more of God in our lives. What is so good about the great exchange is that we can give God our ashes, and He gives us His beauty in return. God will never ask us to give up anything that He doesn’t replace it with something of greater and eternal value.
Whenever Jesus came to Simon Peter and Andrew, his brother, He told them to follow Him, and He would make them fishers of men. This was their opportunity to accept an exchange. If they were willing to leave the temporal world as sinners and pursue Christ, He was going to give them eternal life. Jesus was also offering them a ministry that would have everlasting rewards. When the men heard the call of God, they both forsook their careers, families, and homes in order to fulfill Jesus’ command to follow Him.
Neither Simon Peter nor Andrew asked Jesus what was in it for them. I find this very interesting seeing that they were leaving behind the only way of life they had known. However, they were answering a greater call. True faith gives us the ability to say “good-bye” to our old lives without giving any thought to any questions that our flesh nature might ask of our hearts.
There was something about Jesus that caused twelve men to forsake all and follow Him. Apparently, being in Jesus’ presence filled the emptiness in the disciple's hearts. They had an assurance that everything was going to be taken care of; they didn’t have to fret. Could it be that their hearts were filled with the peace of God for the first time in their lives, and this peace overshadowed any doubts, worries or concerns? Yes!
We’ve looked at the faith and the hunger of the disciples; they were willing to forsake all because they possessed a deep desire for Jesus and longed for an eternal reward. Now, let’s look at another man who was rich: In Mark 10, there is a story of a prosperous man who came to Jesus asking what he must do to be saved. Jesus gave the man a few commandments to uphold, and the gentlemen responded that he had kept those particular commandments from his youth. After this, Jesus told him that he lacked one thing, love. Jesus instructed the rich man to take all his possessions, sell them, give the proceeds to the poor, and then take up his cross and follow Him. Jesus went on to inform the man that he would have treasure laid up in heaven as a result of his willingness to forsake this world’s pleasures. Unfortunately, the rich man walked away; he was unwilling to exchange temporary wealth for eternal blessings.
After the rich man walked away from Jesus, Peter explained to Jesus how “he” had forsaken all in order to answer the call and to follow the Lord. Nevertheless, I don’t see where Simon asked Jesus, “What are you going to give us, seeing that we didn’t walk away from your command to forsake all and to follow you?” Even so, Jesus answers Simon’s statement with a truth that is very revealing about the heart of God toward those who make the wise choice to leave everything behind. He said, "Assuredly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house, or brothers, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife or children, or lands, for My sake and the gospel's, who shall not receive a hundredfold now in this time - houses, and brothers, and sisters, and mothers and children, and lands, with persecutions - and in the age to come, eternal life.
Just imagine, these men had forsaken their careers, families, and homes to answer the call without even considering what they would get in return. Now that’s faith! It was because of their extraordinary faith that Jesus could give them the revelation about their eternal reward and the hundred-fold restoration in this life. It’s sad that the rich man didn’t have the faith to follow Jesus until he could hear what the reward would be for those who made the choice to forsake all and follow Jesus. Only when we completely trust the Lord, and then take a step of faith to abandon this life for the life to come will we come to know the riches of God’s glory and the hidden wisdom of God.
It amazes me how the disciples were willing to walk away from everything that they loved in order to pursue God and His call on their lives without knowing the benefits of such an act of faith. It’s time for this type of passion to return to the body of Christ. We must not sell-out our spiritual and eternal inheritance for the temporal pleasures of this world. What will it profit us if we gain the entire world, but forfeit our souls? Nothing!
God is calling His people, you and me back to Himself. If we choose to draw close to God, He has promised to draw close to us. Are you ready to forsake this world’s pleasures, and after that answer a deeper call to know Jesus as never before? It’s time for your exchange.
It’s Time to Step Out,
Pastor Asa Dockery

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