Posted by: Bill Hornbeck | February 18, 2019

“I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ”

Today’s devotion comes from Luke 14:25-33.

“Now large crowds were going along with Him;  and He turned and said to them, “If anyone comes to Me, and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be My disciple.  Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple.  For which one of you, when he wants to build a tower, does not first sit down and calculate the cost to see if he has enough to complete it?  Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who observe it begin to ridicule him, saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.’  Or what king, when he sets out to meet another king in battle, will not first sit down and consider whether he is strong enough with ten thousand men to encounter the one coming against him with twenty thousand?  Or else, while the other is still far away, he sends a delegation and asks for terms of peace.  So then, none of you can be My disciple who does not give up all his own possessions.”  Luke 14:25-33.

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Today’s devotion leads us to consider the supreme value of the kingdom of heaven.  The language of today’s Scripture should be considered figurative language, not literal language.

For example, obviously, we are not called to literally hate our wife or hate our family.

“Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her, …  So husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself;”  Ephesians 5:25-28.

“But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.”  1 Timothy 5:8.

Rather, today’s Scripture teaches us that the kingdom of heaven is worth all that we have:  all of our possessions (verse 33), all of our time (even if it encroaches on our “family time” which is the meaning of verse 26), and all of our focus on our own pride and our own passions and desires (our life, verse 26).

In a sense, we hate our own life by hating our own pride and our own self-righteousness.

“and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith,”  Philippians 3:9.

In a sense, we hate our own life by hating our own passions and desires.

“Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.”  Galatians 5:24.

We may not be called by our Lord to give up all of our possessions or all of our family time or to die as a martyr.  But, whatever our Lord calls us to do or to give up, the kingdom of heaven is worth it.

“The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hidden in the field, which a man found and hid again;  and from joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.

“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking fine pearls, and upon finding one pearl of great value, he went and sold all that he had and bought it.”  Matthew 13:44-46.

In comparison to the supreme value of the kingdom of heaven (also known as knowing Christ), the total value of all that we have is the equivalent of rubbish.  “… I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ,”  Philippians 3:8.  We are losing nothing compared to what we are gaining.

Whatever our Lord calls us to do or to give up or to suffer, that is our cross to bear.  And, with the call, our Lord gives us all the grace that we need to bear our cross.  “And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.”  Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me.  Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake;  for when I am weak, then I am strong.”  2 Corinthians 12:9-10.


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