Jesus compared the kingdom of heaven to “a merchant looking for fine pearls. When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it” (Matthew 13:45–46).
What does it mean to give up everything for the pearl of great price?
I want to convey that your choice to live for Jesus is not just a means to escape hell. It is not just to have your sins forgiven or to have a nice, comfortable life here on earth with good fellowship and a free ride to heaven.
Life for Jesus is a spiritual battleground. Like it or not, we are in the enemy’s territory. Jesus Himself was harassed continually by the powers of darkness and the enemies of the Gospel. He had no nice place to lay His head. He was misunderstood and rejected. He was often left alone, particularly at the hour of His greatest need. He died daily, and on the cross in great agony.
Paul and the other apostles followed in His footsteps.
Am I saying you are more spiritual if you walk around in rags and alienate yourself from society? No. And I do not want you to assume from what I am writing that giving up “rights” or comforts is all there is to life in Christ. Every truth in this world stretched beyond its limits will become a false doctrine. But when you commit yourself to live for Jesus, you cannot live just like everyone else. You must follow the Lord closely day by day. Only He can provide the balance you need. This is why we are told in the Word of God that “those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God” (Romans 8:14).
As we walk through this life, we can choose to be led by the Spirit, or we can choose to be led by our own logic, by other people’s opinions or by our own flesh.
Our flesh will do a lot of good-looking things—a lot of praying, a lot of fasting, a lot of giving up. But the Word of God says, “If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing” (1 Corinthians 13:3).
If we are not controlled and led by love for God, all the “right” outward behavior amounts to nothing. Since love is a fruit of the Holy Spirit, we must be filled continually with the Holy Spirit and led daily by Him.
“What is your life?” asks James 4:14. “You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.”
Since your life is short, what will you leave behind? A few pieces of jewelry, a house, some cars, land, investments, money in the bank? Or will you leave more than that?
What about a son or daughter who is serving the Lord somewhere in the world? What about the memory that you lived for Jesus with all your heart—that you gave Him all you had and all you were to gain His kingdom? What about the knowledge that you gave all you could to reach the lost and dying souls of the world?
Jesus told His disciples the cost of the pearl of great price: “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me” (Matthew 16:24). May you find the willingness in your heart to sell all you have for the pearl.
Excerpt from Chapter 12 of Living in the Light of Eternity (ISBN 9781595891402) © 2014 by KP Yohannan, the president and founder of Gospel for Asia.
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