Matthew 25:35-39 “‘For I was hungry and you gave Me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave Me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited Me in, I needed clothes and you clothed Me, I was sick and you looked after Me, I was in prison and you came to visit Me.’ Then the righteous will answer Him, 'Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You something to drink? When did we see You a stranger and invite You in, or needing clothes and clothe You? When did we see You sick or in prison and go to visit You?’”
I have always loved this teaching. I memorized it, quoted it, and have tried to live it. In reading it this week I heard God say, “Are you really living this?” As I continued reading and meditating on these Scriptures the perverseness of the way I live for Jesus struck me. I found that I filtered ministry opportunities through my lenses of action: “Do I have time?” “What’s the cost?” “Can I make any difference?” “What will others think?” “Is it safe?” You get the idea – doing it is not about God’s will, desire, or leading, but about making it fit into the maze of my life’s priorities. This conviction set me up for the challenge given in Matthew 25:40, “The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of Mine, you did for Me.’” I freely step out of my life’s maze for my wife, children, good friends, boss, and something that benefits me. But for the ill clothed, sick, criminal, hungry, and thirsty? Those things usually get closely vetted. What we forget is that Jesus is involved in each of these peoples’ life circumstances. His call is not for us to determine God’s will, but for us to obey God’s will.
Can I change the lens of my life to first see Jesus in each of these peoples’ life circumstance? Have I allowed the love of Jesus in me to transform the lens of my life to see others differently? Can I react so the need is not a complication, but an opportunity for Jesus to flow through my life? Can I not be judgmental or critical, but instead be encouraging and praising? Can I grow in love by becoming increasingly selfless, mature, and patient? Can I be sympathetic to the physical, emotional, and spiritual needs of others, so that I can support, carry, and encourage them along the way in their needs? Am I willing to have less free time, less sleep, less money, and a busier schedule in order to be faithful to what God has called me too? Am I willing to say no to selfish instincts and yes to God?
These are tough questions that require us to walk closely with God. We will only succeed out of a passionate, intimate, and regular relationship with Christ. That intimacy with God will continually challenge you to live for God instead of self. You can only do this by an enlarging faith in God that equips you to step into the obedience that James 2:18 calls us to, “Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do.” Today’s passage challenged the core of my faith as I pondered how often I left Jesus empty-handed. The only way I can change the lens of life that I operate from is to know Jesus so well that I naturally meet Him where He is at. I need to learn how to live as the woman who poured out her life’s savings on Jesus’ feet with an extravagant amount of perfume. No holdbacks, but only 100% love for Jesus.
Matthew 26:7-9 “A woman came to Him with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, which she poured on His head as He was reclining at the table. When the disciples saw this, they were indignant. ‘Why this waste?’ they asked. ‘This perfume could have been sold at a high price and the money given to the poor.’”
Two free teachings are available to help God’s transformation in this area of your life. Go to www.growinginChrist.net; scroll to the bottom of the page and you will see them under Free Resources: “Spending Time With God” and “Impactful Journaling.”
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