If you really treasure something, you do not have to make yourself concentrate on it very much.
- Jordan Chamblee
You may have heard the popular term “sold out for Jesus.” Unfortunately, like many other church phrases, this term has become cliché. It seems all anyone really has to do now to earn this title is being excited about worship or going on mission trips to Third-World countries. We toss this phrase around so much we’ve forgotten its meaning.
When something is sold out, there is nothing left. You go to get tickets for a movie, but it is sold out: there are no tickets left. You want to purchase a limited edition item, but find it’s sold out: there are no more to purchase. In the same way, when someone is “sold out for Jesus,” they’ve given everything up for Him. There is nothing left in them to give to anything else. They have sold everything to gain Christ because they cannot live without Him. He is their treasure above all things.
Two of Jesus’ best-known parables are found in Matthew 13:44-46, “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and hid; and for 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 beautiful pearls, who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had and bought it.”
Is Christ like this to you? When you first discovered Him and His love for you, did you love Him so much you would have sold everything you own to get Him? Would you do that now? Like Paul, is everything you own trash in comparison to Christ? “Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ”(Philippians 3:8).
The easiest way to know if Christ is your treasure is to track where your thoughts and affections go in those moments when your mind is unbridled and you can think of anything you want. “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matthew 6:21).
Where do your thoughts go? Commuting to work or school, crashing on the couch after a long day, easing out of sleep in the morning, or waiting for sleep in the evening…where your mind wanders during these times in your day is a good indication of what your treasure is. In these moments, you may feel there is nothing pressing to think about. But this is precisely when thinking about Christ is urgent. God’s warning to Cain is relevant to us: “Sin lies at the door… And its desire is for you” (Genesis 4:7). Sin and sinful thoughts arise when our guard is down. Meditating on Christ helps keep temptation at bay. Do your thoughts wander to Christ, or to some other treasure?
Are you easily distracted? If you really treasure something, you do not have to make yourself concentrate on it very much. It comes naturally. Do you have to force yourself to concentrate on Christ? Is there something else that you love so much that all it has to do is whisper to you and you immediately turn your attention to it? The thing that you treasure most will distract you most. Have you ever been distracted by Christ?
Would you rather think of other things? When you treasure something, you enjoy thinking about it. A man who loves his wife loves to think about her. A kid who loves superheroes loves to think about them. A person who loves Christ more than anything loves to think about Him more than anything. Can you honestly say this about yourself? What kinds of things would you rather think about other than Him?
Obviously, I’m not saying that we can’t love other things. A husband is commanded to love his wife (Ephesians 5:25). We’re commanded to love our neighbors (Mark 12:31), and even to love our enemies (Matthew 5:44). We love good food, beautiful days, beautiful music, and all the gifts God has given us. But our love for these things should be caught up in and dwarfed by our love for Christ. He is the most deserving of our love and attention.
If, like myself, you know your thoughts tend to wander towards things other than Christ, there is only one thing to do: pray! Pray that God would reawaken you to the beauty and love of Christ, that He would show you just how shallow everything else is apart from Him. Remember how much He loves you. Keep in view the cross of Christ, the greatest testament of His love, and let His love kindle yours.