Imagine being told that in order to get the thing that you desire most, you’ll have to give up everything you’ve spent years acquiring. This is exactly what Jesus told the young, rich man in Matthew 19:20-21 (NLT). The dialogue between the two of them is a jewel of wisdom and knowledge that we cannot afford to overlook. The young man inquired what he must do to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. In verse 20 he asked “I’ve obeyed all these commandments, the young man replied. “What else must I do?” Jesus replied to him in verse 21, “If you want to be perfect, go and sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”
Upon first hearing the statement that Jesus made, a large majority of us would probably say, “Uh, I don’t think so!” Our minds have been conditioned by the world to hold on to things we deem valuable. We can’t comprehend the brevity of letting go of something we hold so dear, unless we are 100% sure that we will obtain something of greater value. We’d rather get all we can get, and still be able to hold on to what we already have. Life does not work this way.
God established a precedent or pattern for the way we ought to approach our new way of operating in Christ. Through the Apostle Paul, He said in Ephesians 4:22-24 (NLT), “22 Throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception. 23 Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. 24 Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy.” It is only through Christ that you and I have unlimited capacity. We come to him with very limited capacity indeed. Before we are saved, our arms are already full with stuff that weighs us down. Paul strongly encourages us to throw off this negativity. He tells us to unload the burdens and sins that are keeping our arms and hands full, so that we can run the race that God has set before us with lightness, agility, and greater speed. (Heb 12:1)
Most of us want to hold on to things that make us comfortable. Whether it is wealth, material things, or toxic relationships; we’ve derived a certain level of comfort in these things, and we don’t want to throw them off. This was the condition of the young, rich man’s heart. His grip was so tightly wrapped around his possessions, that he couldn’t imagine anything would bring him more pleasure or make him feel more secure.
When you think about this, you can clearly understand the true essence of faith. Faith demands that we walk according to what we can’t see, and not by what we can see. It forces us to use our imaginations.
Our imaginations are an extremely important and useful tool in the Kingdom. They help us to visualize events, experiences, and aspirations that haven’t taken place in the natural or in the timespan of our lives. We didn’t actually see Jesus Christ in the flesh when he walked upon this earth, but through our faith, we know that he did. God’s Word paints a vivid and vibrant picture, and we can use our imagination—our mind’s eye—to see our beautiful, blessed Lord. Everything in the spiritual world works this way. We don’t see all the activity going on spiritually, but through the Spirit that indwells us we know that there is more going on in the spiritual realm than there is in the natural realm. We can sense these things in the Spirit, and use our imaginations to paint a picture in our minds.
This is crucial, because if you can’t perceive it, then you can’t have it. If you can’t perceive it, then you can’t fulfill it. Faith demands that we imagine the evidence of something before it is seen. And we have to believe in the evidence so strongly that it is real to us.
The young, rich man couldn’t make the leap. He refused to allow Jesus Christ to stretch his capacity to exponentially wider and greater depth. He could not imagine a life without his stuff, and he couldn’t imagine that heaven would hold for him an infinitely greater treasury than the one he had labored for with his own might and mental prowess. He couldn’t perceive it, so He couldn’t have it.
It is sometimes very hard for us to shake ourselves out of routines and to stretch our imaginations to see a bigger picture. This can be especially true for sisters that have been single for many years. They become comfortable making a life for one, and sometimes forget that seeing and preparing for two is necessary. You must come to a place where you are completely sold-out to the fact that God has blessings for you that are far more valuable and useful than what you’re holding on to so tightly. Let go, and let God!
Recognize that the Lord may be calling you to burst out of that same ol’ groove, so that your vision is expanded. Your faith may need a reboot. A single digit, representing you against the world, may be your present, but it is not your future. Allow the Spirit to renew your thoughts and attitudes as you press into Christ. He’ll ignite new vision, inspiration, and revelation of your wonderful future. ■
Scripture quotations marked (NLT) are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved.
“If You Can’t Perceive It, You Can’t Have It!”, written by FACM©2017. All rights reserved. All done to the glory of God through Jesus Christ, our Lord!