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Summary: To be a Christian, it takes a life-time of effort, obedience, and sacrifice.

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IT HAS BEEN SAID THAT “THERE IS POWER IN THE PRESENCE OF A RISEN SAVIOR TO SOLVE OUR DIFFICULTIES, REMOVE OUR PERPLEXITIES, CALM OUR FEARS, EASE OUR BURDENS, DRY OUR TEARS, MEET OUR EVERY NEED, TRANQUILIZE OUR MINDS AND SATISFY EVERY CRAVING OF OUR HEARTS.”

THE POWER THAT RAISED OUR SAVIOR FROM THE GRAVE CONTAINS AN INCOMPREHENSIBLE AMOUNT OF POTENCY TO DRIVE OUT ANY FEAR WE MAY HAVE OF OUR PRESENT STATE OR FOR OUR FUTURE EXISTENCE INTO THE DAYS AHEAD.

I FIRMLY BELIEVE THAT WE SHOULD NEVER WASTE PRECIOUS TIME TRYING TO COME UP WITH EXCUSES TO JUSTIFY GIVING IN TO THOUGHTS OF DISCOURAGEMENT, DOUBT, AND HOPELESSNESS. A CHRISTIAN SHOULD NEVER GET TO THE POINT OF WANTING TO GIVE UP, THROW IN THE TOWEL AND CALL IT "QUITS."

JESUS HAS ALREADY TOLD US, IN LUKE 18:27, "WHAT IS IMPOSSIBLE FROM A HUMAN PERSPECTIVE IS POSSIBLE WITH GOD." THIS ONLY ADDS TO THE WORDS OF PHILIPPIANS 4:13, "FOR I CAN DO EVERYTHING WITH THE HELP OF CHRIST WHO GIVES ME THE STRENGTH I NEED."

THERE SHOULD NEVER BE A TIME WHERE WE CONSIDER CALLING IT QUITS. WE SHOULD NEVER COME TO THE CONCLUSION THAT WE CAN WALK AWAY FROM OUR RESPONSIBILITIES SIMPLY BECAUSE OUR SITUATION DOES NOT MAKE SENSE OR WE MISTAKE OUR PROBLEMS AS AN INSURMOUNTABLE PROBLEM RATHER THAN A TEACHABLE MOMENT FOR OUR FAITH AND TRUST.

IT TAKES A LIFETIME OF EFFORT, AS PAUL TELLS US IN PHILIPPIANS 2:12, TO "WORK OUT OUR SALVATION WITH FEAR AND TREMBLING." EFFORT IS THE DEFINING MOMENT.

THAT IS WHY SOME PEOPLE DO NOT LIKE TO HEAR THAT OLD EXPRESSION, “THIS IS WHAT SEPARATES THE MEN FROM THE BOYS!” WHY? BECAUSE THE KINDS OF THINGS SEPARATE THE MEN FROM THE BOYS ARE THE THINGS THAT INVOLVE DANGER AND RISK.

DANGER AND RISK ARE THINGS THAT TAKE COURAGE AND WILLINGNESS TO SACRIFICE. THINGS THAT ARE GRUELING AND GUT-WRENCHING ARE THINGS THAT REQUIRE MATURITY AND PERSEVERANCE, NOT JUST BOYISH ENTHUSIASM AND ENERGY.

IN A SENSE, THIS IS WHAT THE PARABLE OF THE TREASURE AND PEARL IS TEACHING US ABOUT THE CHRISTIAN LIFE. JESUS ISN’T TRYING TO SEPARATE THE MEN FROM THE BOYS. RATHER, HE IS SEPARATING THE REAL CHRISTIAN FROM THE MERELY RELIGIOUS THROUGH THE PROCESS OF EFFORT.

THE DEFINING ATTRIBUTE THAT SEPARATES THE TRUE BELIEVER FROM THE RELIGIOUS IS EFFORT. IT TAKES EFFORT TO LIVE THE CHRISTIAN LIFE.

IT TAKES EFFORT TO LIVE A LIFE WORTHY OF OUR CALLING IN CHRIST JESUS. IT TAKES EFFORT TO WITNESS. IT TAKES EFFORT TO KEEP INVESTING YOUR TIME, TALENTS, GIFTS, AND FINANCES WHEN OTHERS WON’T DO THE SAME. IT TAKES EFFORT TO KEEP GOING WHEN OTHERS SAY "TAKE IT EASY" OR "SLOW DOWN."

IT IS A LOT LIKE WHAT I LEARNED IN MATH CLASS: THE RIGHT ANSWER IS EQUALLY AS IMPORTANT AS HOW YOU ARRIVED AT THAT ANSWER. IT IS ALL ABOUT THE EQUATION!

THE "EQUATION" IN OUR PARABLE IS FOR US TO ADOPT INTO OUR LIVES A MIND-SET OF RADICAL OBEDIENCE AND A HEART OF RADICAL DISCIPLESHIP NO MATTER THE COST.

IF WE ARE TO SURVIVE AND TRULY SEEK TO BECOME A "GREAT COMMISSION-OBEDIENT" PEOPLE, THEN WE WILL HAVE NO OPTION THAN TO ADOPT THE WORD “RADICAL” INTO OUR VOCABULARY AND OUR LIFE-STYLE.


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