Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God!” The disciples were amazed at his words. But Jesus said again, “Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.” The disciples were even more amazed, and said to each other, “Who then can be saved?” Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God.” Mark 10:23-27
I agree. It IS hard to enter the kingdom of God. But it’s not just hard to give up things to follow Jesus.
It’s hard to make it to the finish line.
I saw this awesome cartoon Roger Lamb shared yesterday:
We think when do Jesus the favor of following Him, he’s going to make our life nice and smooth.
Instead, we find ourselves in a mine field.
“This is not where I am supposed to be!” we cry angrily. “Something went wrong.”
But what if that pit is a part of God’s map for you to make it to the finish line? What if that is the route you NEED to take?
You know, it’s funny, but when the way gets hard, we start abandoning our baggage.
All those things that we treat as important? They become less important. When it’s really hard, the only thing that matters is God.
I read a marine’s account of going through basic training. He said EVERYONE became religious by the end. They were so desperate, exhausted, bodies falling apart, that they ALL prayed.
Maybe we need to go through times like that to give up our idols and really seek God.
Because our idols can keep us from making it to the finish line.
How hard it is to enter the kingdom of God.
This past Monday my family went to the Renaissance Faire and my son in law held a snake
Do you know how a snake like this kills? It wraps around its prey and gradually tightens, suffocating it.
Just like what the parable of the soils says about the thorny soil —
But the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful.
Bit by bit the things we’re involved with can coil around us and choke us.
Yikes! Should we all become monks, then? Give up all our worldly possessions and pursuits?
Who then, can be saved?
With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God.
The thing is, that God is doing the saving, not us. And it’s not just a one time thing at our conversion. God is saving us every day, getting us ready for heaven.
Continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose. Phil 2:13
God is taking us on the exact path we need to travel to run through the tape.
And what do we need to do?
As Philippians 2 goes on to say, “Do everything without grumbling or arguing.”
We protest, “But it’s so hard. I know God doesn’t want me to go through these financial troubles, these heath problems, these emotional challenges, this anguish.”
Because God’s plan is to transform us.
No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it. Heb 12:11
God is training us. It is not impossible for us to make it because He is WORKING MIRACLES.
And He works His miracles in us by bringing us through minefields and pits.
By compelling us to seek His presence. “To be in the presence of God is to change.” (Richard Foster, “The Celebration of Discipline.”)
By making us a part of His body. As Gordon Ferguson points out in “The Power of Discipling,” God has created for us a fellowship where,”the sinful tendencies will be discouraged and the godly tendencies will be encouraged.”
This is God’s work.
What is our work?
To not grumble or argue. (Especially with God!)
To lay each pursuit, each worldly possession, each situation, each moment, each thought, on the altar for His glory. This keeps us from being choked.
Who then can be saved?
Just the moment I think I have it all figured out, that I know how to be saved, God gives me an unexpected twist, a pit I can’t get out of, and I have to trust him all over again.
And once again I find It IS hard, even impossible, to enter the kingdom.
Except by holding His hand, and letting him get me there.