By faith Moses, when he was grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, choosing rather to be mistreated with the people of God than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin. He considered the reproach of Christ greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt, for he was looking to the reward (Heb. 11:24-26).
“Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also,” was the declaration of our Lord to those who would listen on the Sermon on the Mount, and it is the testimony of countless lives of men and women who have looked upon the offerings of this world and upon the suffering that comes with Christ and forsook the former for the latter.
It is counter-cultural declaration, and as such, it brings with it its own reproach. For any who would verbally declare in a materialistic culture that materialism is not the means to joy is bound to receive reproach in some form. However, the greatest reproach comes not with one’s verbal testimony but with the way in which he lives his life. For there may be many who are willing to admit with their lips that true joy exists outside of material goods, but the testimony of their lives is a different story. And it is from these, from those who argue against materialism with their lips and argue for it with their lives, that one who lives for Christ by forsaking material pleasures receives the greatest amount of animosity. For it is the ones who give lip service who have the greatest amount to lose. For if even one exists in their midst who lives outside the material snares of the world, it is this one who, as it were, rats them out and shows them to be false. For these who forsake the world act as Noah did to his perishing generation, as a condemnation of their faithless lives (cf. Heb. 11:7).
And it is those who give lip service to Christ who create the dichotomy between joy and happiness. For, etymologically speaking, the two are one, yet those who hold fast to the world and its pleasures while attempting to hold fast to Christ, though finding the joy of the Lord throughout the Scriptures, find little happiness in him in their hearts. For their joy is not that of Moses who considered the reproach of Christ as greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt nor is it that of the apostle Paul who declares, “We rejoice in our sufferings” (cf. Rm. 5:3). For their treasure is not the same as that of Moses and Paul, for if it were, they would be happy in their lives, knowing that Christ is glorified in them. As it is, few have happiness or joy in the Lord, because the Lord is not their treasure.
What is your treasure? Is it the material pleasures of the world or is it the suffering that comes with being named with Christ? For if you find little joy in being reproached for the sake of Christ, you will, by necessity, find little happiness in this life.
Categories: Just a Thought