If you wish to be complete, go and sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.
Burning the ships in your commitment to Christ means getting a handle on your possessions. If you make an “all-in” decision to follow Christ, don’t be surprised if God sends a test into your life to see if you are really all in for Jesus.
Remember the story of the rich young ruler who came to Jesus? In Matthew 19:16, he said, “Teacher, what good thing shall I do that I may obtain eternal life?” Jesus responded, basically, “Oh, you want to go by the works system? Fine, if you want to inherit eternal life, then just keep all the commandments; if you do those things, you’ll go to heaven.” The young ruler said, “All these things I have kept; what am I still lacking?” (v. 20). Jesus said, in essence, “Really? I didn’t realize I was in the presence of such a holy man. Well, then there’s only one little thing you need to do in order to inherit eternal life.” In verse 21, Jesus said to him, “If you wish to be complete, go and sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.” The Bible says the man said nothing and walked away.
Jesus wasn’t teaching that this man could buy his way into heaven. He was saying that how you hold your possessions is like an x-ray into the condition of your spiritual life. If you want to know if you’re really following Jesus, then look at how you respond whenever God says, “I want some of what is in your hand.” People who are trying to serve themselves hold on to their possessions tightly, but all-in disciples of Christ hold their possessions loosely so that when God occasionally says, “I want some of that,” we are not trying to hang on to it. We are to hold our possessions loosely.
Every now and then, there comes a test in your life when God says, “Are you really serving Me, or are you serving yourself?” For me, one of those tests came when I was sixteen and God asked me to make a sacrificial gift to start a bus ministry at a local church. If you want to be an all-in disciple of Jesus Christ, then you need to get your possessions aligned with God’s will for your life.
Burning the ships and following Jesus is not easy. It is certainly not for cowards. It requires courage. For Elijah, that courage meant being willing to confront 850 sword-wielding prophets of Baal on the top of Mount Carmel. For you, it means deciding who is really in control of your life–is it you or is it God? That is the requirement of those who would follow God completely and those who want to live an extraordinary life.
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “Jesus’s 4 Tips for Burning Your Ships” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2017.
Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960,1962,1963,1968,1971,1972,1973,1975,1977,1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.