The other day, I read a statement made by Pastor John Piper, a pastor I deeply respect and admire. His statement is as follows: "You either treasure Jesus above all, or you're not saved. If you don't value Jesus above everything else, you don't have saving faith." At first reading, his statement seemed rather bold. But upon meditating on the Scriptures, I have become convinced that he is right. This truth is too important to neglect, so I share it with you this evening. Take a moment to unpack some of the underlying Scriptures with me.
In Matthew 22, Jesus is asked which commandment in the Law was the greatest. Jesus answered in verse 27: "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind." As we serve Jesus as the Son of God, fully God and fully man, our love for Jesus must also be from a fully devoted heart, soul and mind. Our hearts, souls and minds must be captivated with Christ. We must value Christ above all things that might create a divided heart within us.
Paul writes of this fully devoted heart, soul and mind in Philippians 3:7-8: "But whatever gain I had I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ." In essence, nothing compares to the greatness of Christ! All other things pale in comparison to having a deep loving relationship with Jesus Christ! Paul willingly placed all things down before His God and King, Jesus Christ, because he loved Jesus more than everything. We, too, must love Christ with a fully devoted heart, soul and mind.
Jesus demands our complete devotion. I'm reminded of his challenging words in Matthew 10:37-38. In these verses, Jesus says: "Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me." You see, no relationship should overshadow our relationship with Christ. Even our lives must be willingly laid down for the sake of Christ. Jesus demands our undivided heart, soul and mind.
This is a hard teaching. Fortunately, Jesus has made loving Him the easiest and most rewarding task there is. Loving Jesus more than all things is so rewarding, it's difficult to understand why anyone would value anything above Him. Knowing Jesus Christ has filled my life with unspeakable joy that transcends all circumstances and events in my life. The reward of knowing Christ makes all efforts worthwhile.
So the questions becomes: if I discover that there are things in my life that I love more than Christ, am I not saved? No, I don't think you have to doubt your salvation. Your attitude toward those things after discovering this to be the case will be the indication of where you heart truly lies. Do you, upon discovering their competition with Christ, repent of placing such value on those things and lay them at the feet of the One True King? If so, I'd say you're valuing Christ above all things.
If you'd like to experience a relationship with Jesus Christ, contact me through this website. I'd love to sit down with you at a time that's convenient for you. Better yet, stop by one of our small group meetings. We meet on Monday nights at 7pm at Tri-State Christian School. We're a fun group of folks committed to experiencing Jesus in greater ways.