“He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again” (2 Corinthians 5:15).
Located in the Bayerische Staatsmuseum in Munich hangs a painting Italian painter Domenico Feti (1589–1623) entitled Ecce Homo (“Behold the Man”). At the bottom of the canvas the Latin inscription, “Ego pro te haec passus sum, Tu vero quid fecisti pro me: This have I suffered for you; now what will you do for me?” After seeing this painting Francis Havergal was moved to pen the words to the beautiful hymn “I Gave My Life For Thee.” It is time that we as Christians not only sing these hymns but truly commit to meaning what we sing by making the necessary changes in our lives.
We need to be reminded that Jesus said, “whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be My disciple” (Luke 14:33). We come to Christ to be saved and are required to submit to His will, to give up our own selfish ambitions, and put God and others above ourselves. Yet, few do. And sadly many of the problems we see in the church are solely due to the fact that we have to have things done our way or we pout and/or throw a fit. Paul admonishes us to “put away childish things” (1 Corinthians 13:11). Just as egregious are those who sing the last stanza of the great hymn stating “None of self, and all of thee” and are for all intents and purposes lying to themselves and God.
There are two types of people I would like for us to consider:
Those Who Have Never Forsaken Anything: Like the Rich Young Man who comes to Jesus desiring eternal life (Matthew 19:16–22; Luke 18:18–23). When Jesus told him that in order to be perfected he would need to go and “sell all that you have and distribute to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me” (Luke 18:22) he “went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions” (Matthew 19:22).
Those Who Have Returned To Their Old Life: Much like the prodigal son who wasted his father’s inheritance (Luke 15:11–32), are those who forsake their Lord in order to return to the love of the world. Yes, we know the Bible says, “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him” (1 John 2:15). Nonetheless we are “choked cares and riches and pleasures of this life” (Luke 8:14). Indeed, “No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.”
The fact remains that you and I have either forsaken all for Him or we have not. There is no middle ground! What do I treasure in my heart more than heaven; Family, friends, sinful behavior, selfish ambition (even that which is disguised in righteousness)? “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matthew 6:19–21).
Be faithful my friends!