In today’s devotional I am reminded about what we must give up to enter the kingdom of God. This can be and is a tough subject for a lot of people. I know that at times it is for me. We cannot enter the kingdom on our own accord, but we have to have the mind of a child. By having that mind set is the only way that we can enter into eternal life with Christ. A lot of people have a hard time rapping their mind around that because we are thinking in humanly terms, but it’s a Spiritual thing. Having the mind of a child is where we have to spiritually turn ourselves over to God and let Him lead us.
Read the following devotion “A Year with Jesus, As A Child!” by Phil Ware.
“As a Child!” — A Year with Jesus for 03/16/2016
Note from Jesus
Dear Precious One,
When you read the verses below, I want you to notice My interactions with My disciples regarding a rich public official who turned away from following Me. I challenged My disciples to think through his rejection of My call and focus their attention on those who are worthy of their emulation:
Don’t you realize — the kingdom of God belongs to those who are like children? You can depend on this: if you don’t receive the Kingdom as a child would, you won’t enter it at all.
Religion gets far off track when the focus becomes a question of who is most important, most religious, and most deserving of the Father’s love.
I came to you as God. The rich public official in the story below missed this truth. He called Me “good” and only God is truly good. So I challenged him to listen to Me as God. I told him that he needed to drop his religious game of trying to earn the Father’s love. He needed to quit trying to outdo all the others around him in his religious practices. He needed to look deep into his own heart and see that there was an idol he held as more important than obeying the voice of the Father. However, he dismissed what I said. He refused to give up his idol — his great wealth — for two reasons:
- He didn’t think of Me as God. He dismissed what I said as just more religious teaching. He didn’t accept what I said as the very commands of God.
- He was rich and his idol — his real god — was his money. Unfortunately, he thought he could earn the Father’s favor just like he had earned his money.
Sadly, he walked away from Me and from the joy of My kingdom because he couldn’t give up what was false.
Just before the description of this rich public official’s visit with Me, you meet children who are the model for the kind of heart that receives My kingdom. Just after this official, you meet My disciples. In childlike amazement, they wonder how anyone can be saved if someone who has lived a good life, like this rich public official, couldn’t find his way into My kingdom. I reminded them that they were thinking in human terms. And in human terms, it is impossible. But We — Father, Son, and Spirit — make the impossible possible. All that My disciples had to do was look at themselves and what they had given up.
You see, nothing is impossible for the heart totally yielded to Me. You cannot give up more for Me than you will receive many times over in the age to come (Matthew 19:29). However — and this is a huge “however” — you have to be willing to follow Me as a child. So come, dear precious one, and follow Me!
Verses to Live
During My time on earth, children were not an important part of society. They were trained, loved, nurtured, and apprenticed at home. They were not important in adult society. For Me to hold them up as a good example of a disciple was shocking. To elevate children above a rich, devoted-to-the-law public official was shocking. Sometimes, My precious one, shocking is good. Listen with your heart. Invite the Holy Spirit to attach these words to your soul.
I AM the good teacher. I AM God among you. I AM the One teaching the eternal truth. You either renounce all of your idols and follow Me as a child, or you walk away from Me with a sad heart. If you leave, you forfeit your hope of enjoying My kingdom.
Some people brought infants to Jesus, hoping He would touch them to bless them. The disciples rebuked them for doing this. However, Jesus reacted strongly to their rebuke.
Let the little children come to Me. Never hinder them! Don’t you realize — the kingdom of God belongs to those who are like children? You can depend on this: if you don’t receive the Kingdom as a child would, you won’t enter it at all.
Good Teacher, what do I need to do to inherit the life of the age to come?
Why did you just call Me good? No one is good but God — only God. You know what the Hebrew Scriptures command: “Do not commit adultery; do not murder; do not steal; do not bear false witness; honor your father and mother.”
I’ve already been doing these things — since I came of age.
One thing you still lack — one thing; sell all your possessions and distribute the proceeds to the poor. Then you will have treasure in heaven. Then you can come and follow Me.
The man heard these words and sadness came over his face, for his wealth was considerable.
What a hard thing it is for those with much wealth to enter the kingdom of God! In fact, it would be easier for a camel to squeeze through the eye of a needle than it would be for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God!
Then who can be liberated?
Remember, what is humanly impossible is possible with God.
We have left our homes and followed You.
I’m telling you the truth: there is nobody who leaves his house or wife or siblings or parents or children for the sake of the kingdom of God who will not receive more than he has given up — much more — in this age and in the age to come. He will receive eternal life.
Response in Prayer
Father in heaven, I thank You for Jesus being among us in His earthly ministry as Immanuel — God with us. I confess that I sometimes try to win Your approval by compiling a list of things I believe You like and then going out and doing those things. I forget the accomplished mission of Jesus on the cross and the empty tomb that have saved me. So I ask the Holy Spirit to settle my heart in this grace and to reveal to me any unsurrendered area of my heart so that You, and You alone, are my God. I need the continuing guidance of the Spirit to help me completely yield myself to You. Dear Father, I want to follow Jesus as a child who holds nothing back from You and rejoices in the grace of Your acceptance of me and Your promises for me. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
It’s a pretty powerful devotion today and one that has me rethinking and digging deeper into my life. What about you? Are you harboring unknown idols in your life? It’s something to consider and evaluate. I’m going to be doing that. Care to join me?