“And when he was gone forth into the way, there came one running, and kneeled to him, and asked him, Good Master, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life? And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? There is none good but one, that is, God. Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Defraud not, Honour thy father and mother. And he answered and said unto him, Master, all these have I observed from my youth. Then Jesus beholding him loved him, and said unto him, One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me. And he was sad at that saying, and went away grieved: for he had great possessions.” ~ Mark 10:17-22
This rich young ruler in the above passage was not willing to give up his earthly wealth in order to amass a spiritual fortune. I often just shake my head in amazement when I consider how much that choice actually cost him. But just as I begin self righteously counting my fundamental phylacteries, God lovingly reminds me that this event is played out somewhat differently nearly every day in the lives of Christians, myself included.
We Christians say with our lips that we want the fullness of God’s Spirit or to be endued from on high with the power of God. We say we want unction. We pastors and preachers pray to God to fill us and to bless our ministries. But there is a tremendous cost that we often fail to consider before making such a request.
Those whom God blessed and used mightily were willing to be emptied of self and put aside all of their own personal ambitions and aspirations. Are we? They were willing to lay aside their own agendas so that God’s will would be done in their lives. Are we? They were willing to give up their little worldly and carnal pleasures which they, being human, no doubt frequently indulged in. Are we? It meant tearfully agonizing through seasons of prayer and fasting with a broken heart. It meant not being a respecter of persons in their preaching and witnessing, but to be obedient to preach exactly what He laid upon their hearts, no matter who is in the congregation. When was the last time we spent more than a few minutes in prayer at someplace other than the supper table, or more than a day in fasting? And was the motive behind it selfish or for others?
The truth is, that in our apathetic society, most Christians don’t want to sacrifice sleep, and food, and play, or jeopardize our comfortable stations in our churches in order to obtain the fullness of God. We preachers don’t want to stir the waters of complacency by preaching against certain issues or worldly practices for fear that some of our bigger tithers will take offense and leave. We count our earthly pleasures as great riches and when God asks us if we are willing to leave all of these in order to obtain great spiritual riches, we sorrowfully turn away.
We will never know the fullness of God’s Spirit nor His power until we realize it is all that matters and it is the only thing worth having.