“For the sun rises with its scorching heat and withers
the grass; its flower falls, and its beauty perishes. So
also will the rich man fade away in the midst
of his pursuits (James 1:11, ESV).”
As human beings, we genuinely do not like being reminded of our own mortality. Which is why God teaches us that we are a breathe away from eternity. The “here-and-now” won’t last forever. We touched on this two sessions ago. But, it affects where we are going TODAY!
The Big Question
… that stands out to me is this – What am I pursuing? While I am not rich, I am still a human being. A human being whose time on earth is limited. It’s crazy to recite this verse again, but we need to grasp this –
“This is how the rich person will fade away in his pursuits (ISV).”
Like I said, I am not rich. Far from it. There is thanksgiving in this realization, but those with wealth and statute probably have a harder time grasping this reality than “normal folks”.
Why Would I Say This?
Because Jesus said it!
Unlike most, Jesus doesn’t want to ignore the hard-truth. Because He wants to prepare His people and make all men come to Himself and find His AMAZING salvation and rest!
“It is much harder for a rich person to enter the
Kingdom of God than for a camel to go through
the eye of a needle (Mark 10:24, GNB).”
Scripture reminds us that it is harder for those with “financial freedom” to come into the Kingdom of God. It comes with the act of surrender. Money is the one thing that sets them apart. In the world, they have it all. But in God’s Kingdom, He is commanding them to give it up. To be willing to give it up. Our financial wealth can be a hindrance to our walk with God.
We see an example of this with the rich young ruler, when Jesus
‘… looked at him and loved him. He told him,
“You’re still missing one thing. Sell everything you
have. Give the money to the poor, and you will have
treasure in heaven. Then follow me (vv. 21, GW)!”‘
The whole thing about God is knowing He is sovereign, and there is nothing we can do to earn salvation. Jesus sums it up, by stating the biggest “but” we could ever ask for as human beings.
‘Jesus looked at them and said, “It’s impossible for
people to save themselves, but it’s not impossible for God
to save them. Everything is possible for God (vv. 27).”‘
This is the POWER OF GOD!! God alone saves. It is not by our own merit that we are saved. Because, we could never be “good enough”. In Romans 3:10-12, we are reminded that none are righteous. Secondly, we are taught that the best deeds we could do – is nothing more than filthy rags (see Isaiah 64:4).
How do we define what is righteous?
Take a moment to read Romans 3:9-18.
What does it say about righteousness?
How does it define the people’s hearts for/against God – their Creator?
Read Romans 3:19-20.
What does it teach us about accountability to God?
Why are we accountable to God (see Matt. 12:30-37)?
We need a Savior. This is why Jesus Christ came – to save us. I love the passage found in 2 Cor. 5, where we are taught that we are given the righteousness of Christ. Why are we given such righteousness? Jesus carried our sins and death, bled on our behalf, died a sinner’s death, and rose again on the 3rd day.
Take time to read 2 Cor. 5:14-16, 21.
What does verse 15 teach you?
Read 1 Cor. 6:9-11.
What does this passage teach you about the power of God through His Son Jesus Christ (Hint: See verse 11)?
With This in Mind…
let’s return to our Scripture for today.
For my life, accountability to God means everything. It means I will choose not to do something, because I want to honor my God. It doesn’t always mean I won’t do something. Because of the faith I have in Christ, I will choose to do something. I will make decision to activate my faith, and walk by it in my daily life!
With morality, comes a hard truth. We see it in today’s passage of Scripture.
“So also will the rich man fade away in the midst of his pursuits (ESV).”
Mortality means that we can be busy in our lives…
pursuing one thing after another…
and we could DIE before it is all finished.
In fact, we probably will die before “our plans” come into fruition. This is the difference between chasing ourselves (and own pursuits) and chasing after God!
Will you choose to chase after God or your own pursuits? The line isn’t always crossed, but as 1 John 2:15-16 teaches – we can be pursuing something that is far from God’s will. We need to seek God honoring pursuits. Where God is found right there in the middle of what we are pursuing after.
We need to live today like we will meet Jesus tonight!
As it says in Isaiah…
and so do we. Flowers and grass fade away, but what
our God has said will never change. (Isa 40:7-8, CEV)”
In Light of Our Position in Christ
I love the last part of Isaiah 40:8: “But what our God has said will never change.” This means that God’s Holy Word. This is the stuff that will last for all eternity. We need to consider what we are honestly pursuing.
I am sure there are things that need to change, so we can change the direction our lives are headed!
How are you living for eternity?
Make a list of your best laid plans. Divide your list into your plans for this week, year, and yes your “bucket list”. How do they fall in line with the Word of God?
“You were raised from death with Christ. So live for what is in heaven, where Christ is sitting at the right hand of God. Think only about what is up there, not what is here on earth. Your old self has died, and your new life is kept with Christ in God. Yes, Christ is now your life, and when he comes again, you will share in his glory (Col. 3:1-4, ERV).”