Where Your Treasure is…. – Lent with Bonhoeffer Day 6 – Purity 978
Purity 978 02/28/2023 Purity 978 Podcast
Purity 978 on YouTube:
Today’s photo of a cool and peaceful scene at the Watergarden Pavilion along the Lotterywest Federation Walkway comes to us from Dave Baun Photography (https://www.facebook.com/DaveBaunPhotography) who capture this shot will visiting King’s Park in Perth, Australia during his recent summer vacation on what Dave reports to have been on a very hot day.
Well, It’s Tuesday and I share Dave’s tranquil photo from Down Under because of it’s tranquil beauty and because it reminds me to hope for and to look forward to summer days of blue and green that should come in the months ahead. I looked out the window this morning to see a few inches of snow, so I appreciate Dave’s photo and the promise of warmer days all the more!
Well it is the 6th day of Lent and we are in the midst of a series as I have decided to take the blog and podcast on the 40 Day Journey with Dietrich Bonhoeffer devotional that is available at Biblegateway.com (https://www.biblegateway.com/devotionals/40-Day-Journey-Dietrich-Bonhoeffer/today) and I am hopeful that we will all be better off than where we started by using this resource to draw closer to God in anticipation of the celebration of Easter.
While it’s still too early to tell, the decision to follow this road may have been God given to prepare me for Easter and the season beyond as I was contacted yesterday about the possibility of leading a Christian recovery ministry at my local church in May.
In my experience in walking in the Spirit, I have observed that when we make a decision to act in faith to “do something” to draw us closer to the Lord, He will open another door to us and invite us to go deeper into His purpose for us, and even though we are never shown where the new path will lead, we get the indication that saying “no.” cuts us off from all the possibilities that being bold and courageous can lead to. Staying still and just doing what you are doing doesn’t open doors, it doesn’t help others, and it doesn’t take you to the next thing that the Lord has for you to do. When we tell the Lord to “send me”, we need to be prepared to say “Yes.” and go.
So let’s go into the 6th day of our 40 Day Journey with Bonhoeffer and see what the Lord will do with it as we walk in faith from here to there.
“Goods are given to us to be used, but not to be stored away.
Just as Israel in the desert received manna daily from God and did not have to worry about food and drink, and just as the manna which was stored from one day for another rotted, so should Jesus’ disciples receive their share daily from God.
But if they store it up as lasting treasure, they will spoil both the gift and themselves.
The heart clings to collected treasure. Stored–up possessions get between me and God. Where my treasure is, there is my trust, my security, my comfort, my God.
Treasure means idolatry.
But where is the boundary between the goods I am supposed to use and the treasure I am not supposed to have?
If we turn the statement around and say, What your heart clings to is your treasure, then we have the answer.
It can be a very modest treasure; it is not a question of size.
Everything depends on the heart, on you.
If I continue to ask how can I recognize what my heart clings to, again there is a clear and simple answer: everything which keeps you from loving God above all things, everything which gets between you and your obedience to Jesus is the treasure to which your heart clings.”
“Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear?’ For it is the Gentiles who strive for all these things; and indeed your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.” Matthew 6:31-32
Questions to Ponder
- In our consumerist, acquisitive culture, how can we know when enough is enough?
M.T. Clark: Oof! This hits close to home because I experienced it in my life before and just got a reminder of this yesterday. I know in my case that I only began to realize when :enough was enough” when the things I tried to accumulate failed to satisfy me. We can also know when “enough is enough” when the things we accumulate begin to pile up. Yesterday, I was sitting in my riverside bedroom and I looked at the vast quantities of books that I had purchased in the last year that have gone untouched. So I am well aware of my need to recognize that I have more than enough books! I guess there were times in the last year where I feel I “needed” something and thought that buying the books would fill the need. Each book purchase satisfied me in the moment but time passed and I would get the urge again, failing to see that I hadn’t utilized the things I had already purchased and that buying more wouldn’t fulfill me. So it is very important to see when enough is enough and not seek our comfort in accumulating things or experiences to give us peace, but to find our rest and peace in the Lord.
- If “treasure means idolatry,” how might a community of faith both sanction and promote idolatry?
M.T. Clark: A community of faith could sanction and promote idolatry by treasuring other “good things” above our personal relationship with God. A faith community could make idols out of “family”, “our church”, “our pastor” or “this program” and lose focus on the One we are to treasure above all these things.
- If we “loved God above all things,” how might our relationship to “all things” change?
M.T. Clark: If we loved God above all things, our relationship with “all things” would change in the way we hold on to them, the amount of time and money we invest in them, and in our willingness to share them with others. We would see what was more valuable and hold “all things” in less esteem than the Lord who made them all.
of all look to you,
and you give them their food in due season.
You open your hand,
satisfying the desire of every living thing.
The Lord is just in all his ways,
and kind in all his doings.
The Lord is near to all who call on him,
to all who call on him in truth. Psalm 145:18
- Reflect (as honestly as you can) upon your particular idolatries, on those things (or people) to which your heart clings in such a way that they get between you and your obedience to Jesus.
M.T. Clark: Well I have confessed about my large collection of books and how I have accumulated more and how they continue to be unread so I have to be wise to recognize “enough is enough” and focus on the One those books were supposed to bring me closer to: the Lord.
In terms of people getting in the way of my obedience to Christ, I have made some hard decisions and experienced much loss to be faithful to follow the Lord and not to choose people who are not walking with the Lord over Him. While I love many people regardless of their walk or lack of walk with the Lord, I have been intentional about making the Lord my first priority relationally.
- Wonder in your journal about what you might do to turn your heart from such idols to God.
M.T. Clark: My intention is to continuously examine my life to progressively expose areas where I am not following the Lord’s will for my life and to correct them. We are to continually consider what our hearts treasure and to put them in their proper place. When we discover idols, we are to renounce them and repent of our worship to them, progressively and continuously. The result is sanctification, abounding freedom from the things of this world, and increasing allegiance and fidelity to the Lord.
Pray that you, your family, and friends (name them) might have the wisdom to identify your idols and the grace to let them go and love God above all things.
M.T. Clark: When we are asked to pray, we pray:
Lord God Heavenly Father,
I pray that you would give my family, friends, and I the wisdom to identify the idols in our lives that keep us from being obedient to your will for our lives. Give us the grace to let them go and love you above all things.
In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Prayer for Today
Lord, may my true treasure be knowing you and following you. May nothing stand in the way of your love for me and my love for you.
M.T. Clark: In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
***As we are being provided with Bible verses from the 40 Day Journey with Dietrich Bonhoeffer, we will are taking a break from sharing a verse of the day from “The NLT Bible Promise Book for Men”. We plan on resuming that normal installment of the blog following Easter.***
As always, I invite all to go to mt4christ.org where I always share insights from prominent Christian theologians and counselors to assist my brothers and sisters in Christ with their walk.
Today we continue sharing from A.W. Pink’s “The Sovereignty of God.”
As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage all to purchase A.W. Pink’s books for your own private study and to support his work. This resource is available on many websites for less than $20.00.
THE SOVEREIGNTY OF GOD
By ARTHUR W. PINK
SOVEREIGNTY AND HUMAN RESPONSIBILITY
1. How is it possible for God to so bring His power to bear upon men that they are PREVENTED from doing what they desire to do, and IMPELLED to do other things they do not desire to do, and yet to preserve their responsibility?
Pinks response continues: One more illustration: “And the fear of the Lord fell upon all the kingdoms of the lands that were round about Judah, so that they made no war against Jehoshaphat” (2 Chron. 17:10). The implication here is clear. Had not the “fear of the Lord” fallen upon these kingdoms they would have made war upon Judah. God’s restraining power alone prevented them. Had their own will been allowed to act “war” would have been the consequence. Thus we see, that Scripture teaches that God “withholds” nations as well as individuals, and that when it pleaseth Him to do so He interposes and prevents war. Compare further Genesis 35:5.
The question which now demands our consideration is, How is it possible for God to “withhold” men from sinning and yet not to interfere with their liberty and responsibility—a question which so many say is incapable of solution in our present finite condition. This question causes us to ask, In what does moral “freedom,” real moral freedom, consist? We answer, it is the being delivered from the BONDAGE of sin. The more any soul is emancipated from the thraldom of sin the more does he enter into a state of freedom—“If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed” (John 8:36). In the above instances God “withheld” Abimelech, Balaam, and the heathen kingdoms from sinning, and therefore we affirm that He did not in any wise interfere with their real freedom. The nearer a soul approximates to sinlessness the nearer does he approach to God’s holiness. Scripture tells us that God “cannot lie,” and that He “cannot be tempted,” but is He any the less free because He cannot do that which is evil? Surely not. Then is it not evident that the more man is raised up to God, and the more he be “withheld” from sinning, the greater is his real freedom!
A pertinent example setting forth the meeting-place of God’s sovereignty and man’s responsibility, as it relates to the question of moral freedom, is found in connection with the giving to us of the Holy Scriptures. In the communication of His Word God was pleased to employ human instruments, and in the using of them He did not reduce them to mere mechanical amanuenses: “Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the Scripture is of any private interpretation (Greek: of its own origination) For the prophecy came not at any time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake moved by the Holy Spirit” (2 Pet. 1:20, 21). Here we have man’s responsibility and God’s sovereignty placed in juxtaposition. These holy men were “moved” (Greek: “borne along”) by the Holy Spirit, yet was not their moral responsibility disturbed nor their “freedom” impaired. God enlightened their minds, enkindled their hearts, revealed to them His truth, and so controlled them that error on their part was, by Him, made impossible, as they communicated His mind and will to men. But what was it that might have, would have, caused error, had not God controlled as He did the instruments which He employed? The answer is SIN, the sin which was in them. But as we have seen, the holding in check of sin, the preventing of the exercise of the carnal mind in these “holy men” was not a destroying of their “freedom,” rather was it the inducting of them into real freedom.
A final word should be added here concerning the nature of true liberty. There are three chief things concerning which men in general greatly err: misery and happiness, folly and wisdom, bondage and liberty. The world counts none miserable but the afflicted, and none happy but the prosperous, because they judge by the present ease of the flesh. Again; the world is pleased with a false show of wisdom (which is “foolishness” with God), neglecting that which makes wise unto salvation. As to liberty, men would be at their own disposal and live as they please. They suppose the only true liberty is to be at the command and under the control of none above themselves, and live according to their heart’s desire. But this is a thraldom and bondage of the worst kind. True liberty is not the power to live as we please, but to live as we ought! Hence, the only One Who has ever trod this earth since Adam’s fall that has enjoyed perfect freedom was the Man Christ Jesus, the Holy Servant of God, Whose meat it ever was to do the will of the Father.
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Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship
 Arthur W. Pink, The Sovereignty of God (Swengel, PA: Bible Truth Depot, 1949), 157–159.