“Jesus replied, ‘Not everyone can accept this word, but only those to whom it has been given. For there are eunuchs who were born that way, and there are eunuchs who have been made eunuchs by others—and there are those who choose to live like eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. The one who can accept this should accept it” (Matthew 19: 11-12).
Continued from Jesus Who?—The Widow’s Offering.
I have really enjoyed writing this series Jesus Who?. I hope that anyone who hasn’t already, can find the time to go back and read through them. I sincerest desire is that the Spirit guides what I share here and that the love of Christ shines through. Considering how mixed up as our cultural concepts of love and hate have become, it’s no wonder an anti-Christ will one day rise up to deceive so many.
God made me perfect, but whether I like it or not, sin corrupted me the moment I came into this world, and Matthew 19 is among the passages I believe the Holy Spirit spoke hard truths and life to my heart. Jesus said in Matthew 19 that some were born eunuchs, some were made eunuchs, and other chose to live like eunuchs, and Jesus, Himself, stressed that this was not an easy teaching to accept. In fact, I suspect that Matthew 19 was a tough day, all the way around, for those listening. “Jesus replied, ‘Not everyone can accept this word, but only those to whom it has been given. For there are eunuchs who were born that way, and there are eunuchs who have been made eunuchs by others—and there are those who choose to live like eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. The one who can accept this should accept it” (11-12). God spoke this word to me, and the word convicted my heart, and although it would take nearly a decade later to begin to manifest in my outward life, I began to step into my calling for the sake of the kingdom of heaven; I took up my cross and known freedom ever since. As Paul wrote to those in Corinth, “I wish that all of you were as I am. But each of you has your own gift from God; one has this gift, another has that” (1 Corinthians 7:7). And I share this private, sensitive, and yes, even embarrassing, witness in order to boast in the power and goodness and faithfulness of the Lord. For anyone truly interested, I shared my personal testimony in greater detail in My Greatest Thorn and My Greatest Blessing. My position, which is still evolving, as I continue to seek the truth with fear and trembling. But God is faithful, all my questions will be answered in His time.
I wrote recently about the privilege of suffering that comes with taking up our cross and following the Lord. “Now I rejoice in what I am suffering for you, and I fill up in my flesh what is still lacking in regard to Christ’s afflictions, for the sake of his body, which is the church” (Colossians 1:24). Writing from prison, Paul tells the Colossians that he rejoices in his sufferings on their account. The apostle considered his sufferings as a privilege—the privilege of taking up his cross. “Then Jesus said to his disciples, ‘Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me’” (Matthew 16:24). Although the atoning sufferings of the Lord were finished, once and for all, on the cross, not that any man could endure in them. The apostle Paul is clear that we are called to follow in the Lord’s footsteps all the way to Calvary, as Jesus proclaimed, “For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it. What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul? For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what they have done” (Matthew 16:25-27). Paul understood very well what Christ meant by taking up his cross, to fill up in his flesh what was still lacking, and Paul knew the One waiting for him at Calvary. “I am the Living One; I was dead, and now look, I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades” (Revelation 1:18). You see, it is not an act of love to encourage people to disregard the Word of God, to embrace their carnal passions, whether they be pride, sexual immorality, drunkenness, or greed to name a few popular ones; likewise, it is no less irresponsible to stumble the spiritually weak, or worse, those without the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, by carelessly inflaming their passions; that may be an even more grievous sin.
“‘You will not certainly die,’ the serpent said to the woman. ‘For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil’” (Genesis 3:4). I’m not saying that every good decision has to be teeming with agony, but be aware that the enemy is most cunning. The opportune situation, heart wrenching always presents itself, an extreme scenario, a point from which that seizes our emotions. Yes, Satan knows exactly what he’s doing and isn’t opposed to exploiting our desperation, our fear, and yes, our sympathies. But there is good news! We have a great high priest, an advocate, a redeemer in Jesus Christ, full of mercy and grace. We need only to repent, and He will forgive us. Jesus made clear time and time again, throughout His earthly ministry, that a grace without repentance is no grace at all.
The scripture considered in this post is full of any number of other revelations and wonderful truths worth exploring, but I have written what I believe the Holy Spirit has guided me to write.
Every moment of every day, the enemy tempts me to live for the gratification of my natural desires; God forbid, I be tempted to gratify some unnatural one. Satan tempts me to choose a life of comfort, rather than seeking the kingdom of God and His righteousness. The devil attacks from all sides; the left and the right. “Consequently, just as one trespass resulted in condemnation for all people, so also one righteous act resulted in justification and life for all people. For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous” Romans 5:18-19). Therefore, if God finds fault with nothing, and accepts everything, then Jesus is irrelevant, because there is no need for a savior where there is no trespass. On the other hand, if God condemns as the result of any single trespass, then, again, Christ is irrelevant, because there is no need for a savior where grace does not abound. Finally, a god that finds fault with nothing, except for acts reserved as especially grievous by a society, is nothing more than an idol created out of collective norms. The human incarnation of God, Christ Jesus, demonstrates the true manifestation of the character and love of God. Until next time!
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