We know how important it is to have a good attitude and the correct motives, especially when it comes to approaching God. Here are two Bible stories that expose the human conscience and identify why some people seem to overlook what is really important in their quest for satisfaction and security.
Our first example is found in Luke Chapter 18 and is about a wealthy businessman who has a meeting with Jesus. Verse 18 says, “And a certain ruler asked Him, saying, Good Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” It’s easy to read over this and not discern exactly what he was asking.
It seems “eternal life” is what everyone is always interested in, and the easy version of salvation has given the masses just enough false security to believe that all we need to do is just understand the story of Calvary and everything will be all right. We notice at the end of this conversation that Jesus perceived the pride and greed in this man’s heart and knew that He needed to become blunt with what true discipleship is all about. When Jesus explained that salvation was more about personal relationship than keeping a list of rules, the man weighed the cost against the scale of his love for materialism and decided that the price was too steep. Tragically, this is a very common reaction among those who are faced with yielding their independence.
Allow me to say, we will never enjoy spiritual fulfillment while living in the bondage of selfishness and arrogance. Of course, we can settle for a socially acceptable religious facade but, again, God knows the intentions of our heart.
Our second story is found in Luke Chapter 19 and is about a man named Zacchaeus. This man was also a wealthy leader in his community, but notice closely what he was seeking when Jesus came into his neighborhood. Verse 3 says, “And he sought to see who Jesus was; and he could not for the crowd, because he was a short man.” The first man wanted to know how to secure a place in heaven, but Zacchaeus only wanted to know about the person of Jesus. He did not ask about a point system, political favors or how to earn enough gold stars; he was sincerely focused on God. Likewise, we should remember the next life is not about streets of gold but rather about who sits on the throne. Heaven is not a fire insurance policy, but the glorious honor of being with the one who rescued us because He loves us and wants to be with us forever.
The first man walked away depressed because he wanted an easy way to guarantee a good seat in the comforts and glories of splendor. He represents those who are satisfied with just going through the motions in order to satisfy a requirement. Zacchaeus, on the other hand, represents those who desire to worship God in Spirit and truth and are willing to sacrifice their will. These individuals are filled with the Spirit of God and will be delighted to shout His praises because they have a clear conscience and a clean heart. There is never a problem so devastating they cannot sing, “It is well with my soul,” and there will never be a night so dark they cannot trust the light of Christ to be a light unto their path. Whether in abundance or lack, on top of the mountain or in the valley of the shadow of death, there is a song of triumph on their lips and the oil of gladness within their souls. All of this is evident not because they have gathered empires of wealth and power, or have been recognized and respected in the halls of man’s admiration, but because they simply wanted to know who Jesus is.
If anyone is just using His grace as a free reservation for heaven, they will miss the point of salvation, but if we love God just for who He is, we are given the privilege to live in the joys of His presence now and forever.
DR. BILLY HOLLAND lives in Central Kentucky with his wife Cheryl, where he is a Christian author and community outreach chaplain. See more information at billyhollandministries.com.