Learning to Own It
- Wednesday, September 25, 2013
In fact, your very senses are numb to His presence, your eyes shut, your ears closed and your body turned away. In this instance you have come to grips with the fact that if need be, you would stand up in front of the world and say, “I deny Jesus is Lord,” and you would be content with that denial. But before you jump to your feet, first consider that this verbal rejection of Jesus comes with an effect and that is that as you deny Him so He denies you. As He said in the book of Matthew, “Whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven” (Matt. 10:33 esv). So is it any wonder that in your denial of the one who was sent to save you, that you have found more and more animosity toward God and His people?
That your heart has hardened more with each passing day? This is the result of Jesus denying you more than it is of you denying Him. The truth is that you own your faith when and only when Christ owns you. William Barley, in The Letters of James and Peter, spoke this better than we ever could when he said, It frequently happens that the value of a thing lies in the fact that someone has possessed it. A very ordinary thing acquires a new value if it has been possessed by some famous person.
In any museum we will find quite ordinary things—clothes, a walking-stick, a pen, pieces of furniture—which are only of value because they were possessed and used by some great person. It is the ownership which gives them worth. It is so with the Christian. The Christian may be a very ordinary person, but he acquires a new value and dignity and greatness because he belongs to God. The greatness of the Christian lies in the fact that he is God’s.
To be owned by God is ultimately to be consumed by Him. When God owns you, your mind returns continually to His presence. You can’t quit Him. You can’t reject Him because He has a hold of you. Many Christian parents claim this to be the case in the lives of their prodigal children.
They claim the faith that they were raised in is the seed that will one day sprout and bring them back. And that is often the case. In these situations, the prodigal cannot stop thinking “what if”; they can’t get Jesus’ face out of their minds and the stain of guilt off of their lives. This is because they are owned and that ownership has its cost. The idea of the seeds of faith first got their start in a story told by Jesus in the parable of the sower.
He explained faith this way:
“Consider the sower who went out to sow. As he was sowing, some seed fell along the path, and the birds came and ate them up. Others fell on rocky ground, where there wasn’t much soil, and they sprang up quickly since the soil wasn’t deep. But when the sun came up they were scorched, and since they had no root, they withered. Others fell among thorns, and the thorns came up and choked them. Still others fell on good ground and produced a crop: some 100, some 60, and some 30 times what was sown. Anyone who has ears should listen!” - (Matt. 13:3–9)
This parable was used to help the agrarian listeners of Jesus’ time better understand the reasons why faith takes hold in some people’s lives but not in others. And to explain what all this meant, He followed up His parable with these words:
“When anyone hears the word about the kingdom and doesn’t understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. This is the one sown along the path. And the one sown on rocky ground—this is one who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy. Yet he has no root in himself, but is shortlived. When pressure or persecution comes because of the word, immediately he stumbles.
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