I really am enjoying my recent study of Matthew, chapter 13. In this chapter, Jesus gives several parables with the intent to explain how the kingdom of heaven works in the realm in which we live. Two of my favorite parables teach the same truth about the kingdom. I’d like to take a look at these two today.
“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and hid; and for joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.” Matt. 13:44
“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking beautiful pearls, who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had and bought it.” Matt. 13:45-46
Many people “try” a relationship with God and after some time, give up on it saying:
“It isn’t working!”
What do they mean when they say, “it isn’t working?”
People often come to God with an “agenda.” An “agenda” is a spoken or unspoken desire to see a specific outcome. When people have an agenda, they will knowingly or unknowingly work toward the fulfillment of that agenda. The actions that they take – the decisions that they make will have a goal in mind: the achievement of what they want.
These folks are often the very people who become Christians and then are discouraged at some point in their relationship with Him and say, “it isn’t working!”
The answer is found in a few truths:
1. God demands total surrender.
Coming to a relationship with Christ with an agenda in mind simply implies that I am trying in some form or fashion to control that relationship and my own life. Control is evidence of a lack of complete lordship. God cannot save you if you refuse to give your life over to Him completely. Holding on to control is an affront to who He is. He cannot be Savior in your life without being Lord in your life. If you want what God has to offer you, you must submit to Him for who He really is: King of Kings and Lord of Lords. If you don’t totally surrender, God will allow your frustration to build until you do!
2. God and only God knows what is really best for us.
Many of us have certain things that we want and we come to relationship with Christ with the intent to have Him bring those things to pass. This may be a new thought for you, but here goes:
“Since when do we know what is best for us?”
Our knowledge is limited and our ability to see into the future is nonexistent. Our best intentions can be and are polluted by fleshly desires that can “masquerade” even as something noble. When you give your life to God, you give up on making decisions as to what is best for you and you trust His love and wisdom to bring into your life – and to remove from your life whatever will bring about His kingdom and His will. What is part of His kingdom and His will? Manifestation of His love for you so you must allow Him to love you His way!
3. We live for God’s purposes.
God is not our “butler” whose job is to get things for us and then remain quiet until we need Him again. We were born into this life with one purpose and one purpose only:
“To live for His glory!”
Until you know and accept this truth, life will be a “jumble” of things that don’t bring about what they seemed to promise. One of the worst things that can happen to us is to get what we want and then, not want what we got because we feel as if we are a “slave” to our desire. Life’s value is cheapened when we live for the achievement of position, the accumulation of “things” and the pleasing of others. It is only when you realize that you live to bring glory to God that you begin to understand that your life has meaning not just in this plain but in eternity. Since the life we live in the “now” is the shortest part of our total existence then to live for the things of this life plainly manifests a lack of foresight and planning.
4. God makes the final decisions as to how His Word works.
Many people use God’s word as a “contract” with Him; demanding that He do what He says in the way that they interpret it or they will get disillusioned. People who do this struggle with a form of self-righteousness. Their actions tell God, “if you don’t do it the way that I interpret your revelation, then I will judge You as false!”
There are many things that we know for certain as believers and others are in the hands of God. Holding God to His word is a form of control. Take healing for example. I believe in instantaneous and gradual healing by the Spirit of God. Yet, I would be lying to you if I was to say that the Bible reflects that everyone that was prayed for received healing in this life. ANYONE who tells you differently is not being honest! Everyone has had people that they have prayed for that were not healed in this life. The reason many give for this is to say it is a lack of faith on the part of the one prayed for. Great “miracle workers” in the Bible either had some they prayed for that didn’t immediately manifest healing or who died.
A couple of examples:
2 Timothy 4:20: “Erastus stayed in Corinth, and I left Trophimus sick in Miletus.”
These are the words of the man from whom handkerchiefs were taken and laid on the sick and they recovered.
“Now Elisha had been suffering from the illness from which he died.” 2 Kings 13:14
This is the man who carried a double portion of the spirit of Elijah and did many miracles.
If you’re sick, I’ll lay hands on you according to the Word of God KNOWING that you are healed! Every believer who lives in Christ is healed. It is up to God as to when AND how that healing manifests but it will – whether in this life or the next. I’ve seen more than not healed now – but to say it happens every time would be dishonest. A few are healed in the next life. Some don’t want to stay here – they want to go home to heaven so they do. But, I’ve seen others with a ton of faith for healing and those praying for them filled with the same faith and they pass from this life. Do I dishonor them by saying that was a cause of a failure on their part? Do I glorify the devil by saying that despite giving their lives over to the control of God, the devil still “killed” them?
We must allow the God who is all knowing and all powerful to watch over His word to perform it in the way that He chooses! He will not violate His character nor His truth!
There is a great treasure in the field! If you seek something of great price, you must give away all to possess it! It is in this total surrender that we experience the fulfillment of all the kingdom of heaven promises!! Instead of saying, “it isn’t working,” maybe you should check one of these points and realign, if necessary.
I’m for you but more importantly, God is! He will not fail in His purposes for your life!