Galations 5
22But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. (NIV)

From comment thread in a previous post:

I read something a little while ago that challenged believers on what they really believe. it kind of played into what Kelly has blogged about a while back (just turning EVERYTHING over to God) -- if you really believed with 100% of your heart, you would sell everything you have, give everything you make from this point going forward to the God that you believe in, and through faith he would provide and you would want for nothing more in this world because you would know that your eternal comfort awaits in heaven.

I know a good many godly people -- good, decent people that I love a great deal -- and not one of them has done that. Not one of them is even close. They do all the same things the rest of humanity does; accumulate material stuff, houses and cars, and work jobs in order to support their kids... (I think that describes every person I know on this earth).

I'm not judging them -- those who proclaim their faith appear to be much more grounded in it than I am in my own, and it serves many good purposes, but they aren't living every minute for God's glory.

I'll try to go through this piece by piece, but I am probably going to have to publish and republish. First of all, this is a package deal fallacy (I incorrectly characterized this as false dilemma earlier). If I believe with 100% of my heart I must sell everything I own? Give everything to God? Why does God want my measly salary? Does God not want me, His daughter, to eat? Have a place to live? Of course He does, and so He has provided a means by which I may earn money and eat and live. How would it honor Him if I turn my back on the gifts He has bestowed?

It wouldn't, and to insist otherwise is sorely mistaken. It doesn't honor God or His creation to sit around waiting for manna to fall out of the sky. But you are right, about one thing-- wanting nothing in this world. The problem with this reasoning is that it neglects one important factor- I, like every other Christ follower I know, am a work in progress. Fortunately for me, I have an Advocate, someone who is strong in my weakness (that is awfully darn strong, let me tell ya!).

Giving everything to God is not about stuff. God doesn't want our stuff. He wants our baggage, our hearts, our minds. He wants our hurts, our triumphs, our sorrows, our joys. The stuff is a poor substitute. I do know my eternal comfort waits in Heaven, and it is in spite of who I am.

Bearing this in mind, I constantly pray for enough. But that is not about enough stuff; it is about my heart. I pray that my heart will be filled, that I find enough.

I, too, know a good many Godly people. They are my mentors, my family, my friends. Together, we strive to live out our faith. We are missionaries, and our mission field happens to be Las Vegas. We are not street preachers, and we don't live in a VW bus. We live in condos, in houses, and apartments. We go to movies, to street fairs, to concerts. We work in offices, in schools, in casinos. And we witness in our daily life-- we witness to God's amazing transforming power. And you know what else? We sometimes fall. But even in our failure, God doesn't. The Word will win out, because the Word is Truth.

There is something here upon which the commenter has landed which has great spiritual significance. Goodness. Good things are just that, good. But many times we let the good distract from what is Best. I don't kid myself that I am any more grounded than the next person. My size sevens are just as wobbly as any body's, but I know that each time I fall, I crawl to my knees and Christ lifts me back up to my feet. So I can live each moment to his Glory, because He shines so brightly through my weakness.


st4rbux said…
Matt 19:36, Jesus tells the rich man "sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me." I know, this guy was a Rich Man, but comparitively everyone in America today is fantastically rich compared to historical equivalants and certainly compared to the poor of today's world.

Luke 14:28-34 finishes, "any of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be a good disciple." Seems pretty clear.
Check out this study of those passages:
Rachelle said…
Kelly, you did a great job of explaining your perspective on this admittedly troubling passage. And thanks for the link to the study. It was also a good explanation.

I think I sometimes want to pretend Jesus never really said what he did to the rich young ruler! It indeed exposes a raw nerve, and forces us to ask ourselves what may be hindering us from truly following Him.
st4rbux said…
did I miss something? I didn't see Kelly explain anything -- she just redirected to a study site.

Why is the interpretation in the study more valid than the simple words themselves? If interpretations are more valid than the scripture itself, where do you draw the line?

I know I said on the other post that I wouldn't comment again, but seriously, this time I'm Done.
I haven't even gotten to the point where I keep the Law. That rich young ruler was miles ahead of me.
Interpretation is not more valid than the words themselves. However, some people are more gifted at teaching, discerning, etc.________
My Greek skills are more than ten years rusty, and even then, I only got as far as Euclid and the Gospel of John._______
None of us reads Scripture in a vacuum,so by reading the works of scholars, and always measuring them against the whole text, I am better able to wrap my mind around what is going on._____
That passage in Luke is always tough, beginning with hating your mother. We know the Bible has no contradictions, and yet this would seem to contradict on of the "big ten"... There is perhaps something more to it?________
I think that Dr Wilson's assertion that our concern over these passages is more telling than anything is more than fair._____
As for commenting or not, that is, of course, your choice. I have not said you shouldn't. I think it a shame that this exchange causes such strife.
Neil said…
Hi St4rbux,

The context of that passage is the key. The rich young ruler's god was money. Jesus was saying that the false god had to be replaced with the real God (Jesus).

But it is important to keep reading: "Luke 18:23-28 When he heard this, he became very sad, because he was a man of great wealth. Jesus looked at him and said, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God! Indeed, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” Those who heard this asked, “Who then can be saved?” Jesus replied, “What is impossible with men is possible with God.” Peter said to him, “We have left all we had to follow you!”"

Jesus' larger point is that we can't get to God on our own. It is impossible, even if we give away all our money. (the rich young ruler hadn't kept the other commands, either - he just thought he did. He must have missed the Sermon on the Mount). We have to have the righteousness of Jesus.

Countless Christians have given their LIVES for Jesus, so if you are looking for evidence of authentic followers of Christ then there is tons of it.
Susan said…
OK I might be simplifying this a bit...but I connect this story to the sacrifice of Abraham. Here's my thinking...when Abraham WAS willing to give up his son...lay him on the altar and actually sacrifice him to was then that God gave it back to him. If we recognize that EVERYTHING we have already belongs to God...then it's not about depleting our resources but making sure we use them to and for His glory. The rich young ruler didn't see it this way...that's the sad part of this story.

That's my opinion...I admit I didn't go to your link Kelly.

I think it's good when blogging makes people think!!

:-) Susan

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