“And though I bestow all my goods to feed [the poor], and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing. Charity suffereth long, [and] is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth;Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. Charity never faileth: but whether [there be] prophecies, they shall fail; whether [there be] tongues, they shall cease; whether [there be] knowledge, it shall vanish away… And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these [is] charity. (1 Corinthians 13:3-8, 13)
As we continue looking at This will be our first of many devotionals on the events in the life of Christ that set a wonderful example for us of Scriptural love. In every example, we will be seeing Christ giving of Himself for the benefit of others...
The Characteristic of Scriptural Love: No Envy (To Burn Within To Possess)
Christ’s life on earth was a continuing display of love on behalf of all mankind. One of the ways He showed His love was by willingly doing without for the benefit of others. His life was lived humbly, as a poor man without complaining nor desiring to possess that which He, in actuality, deserved.
Let’s look and see Christ’s response to one who are preparing to become a follower of Christ…
“And it came to pass, that, as they went in the way, a certain [man] said unto him, Lord, I will follow thee whithersoever thou goest. And Jesus said unto him, Foxes have holes, and birds of the air [have] nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay [his] head…” (Luke 9:57-59)
Here, we find that this “certain man” sought to become a follower of Christ. He speaks to Christ making a commitment to “follow thee whithersoever thou goest”. Or put another way, “Lord, no matter where you may choose to lead me, I will be willing to follow you”. Christ, in a very kind and loving way, explains to the man the tremendous responsibility that he was taking upon himself. Christ did this by reminding him of the sacrifice of material possessions to which he may be called.
Christ described it like this…. “And Jesus said unto him, Foxes have holes, and birds of the air [have] nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay [his] head.”
Christ used His own life for the example of one that was not envious of this world’s offerings. He was willing to serve His Father at any cost, even willing to give up all worldly offerings including a simple home in which to live.
Folks, Christ knew that one of the great hindrances that we face in our desire to follow Him is the willingness to turn our affections from the things of this world to give Him first place in our lives.
This was shown to us in the account of the rich young ruler who sought to gain eternal life and, in doing so, would become a follower of Christ… “And, behold, one came and said unto him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life? And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? [there is] none good but one, [that is], God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments. He saith unto him, Which? Jesus said, Thou shalt do no murder, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness,Honour thy father and [thy] mother: and, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. The young man saith unto him, All these things have I kept from my youth up: what lack I yet? Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go [and] sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come [and] follow me. But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful: for he had great possessions.” (Matthew 19:16-22)
What stood in this young man’s way to obtaining salvation? It was his great burning love for his worldly possessions. His envy ruled his life and hindered his desire to please God and gain eternal life.
Our Lesson To Be Learned:
We should always recognize the great attraction the things of this world hold for us. From sin’s very beginnings in the Garden of Eden we have seen that the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil held a great allurement to Eve and her desires within … “And when the woman saw that the tree [was] good for food, and that it [was] pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make [one] wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat,”(Genesis 3:6)
May we all show our love for Christ and others by being willing to forsake worldly possessions, when called upon to do so, for the sake of following Christ and helping those who are in need.
After all Christ did that very thing for us… “For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich.” (2 Corinthians 8:9)
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