Will We Be Equal In Heaven? (Bible Study The Rich Young Man Part 5)

That last several bible study posts we have been looking at the story of the rich young man’s encounter with Jesus.  We started by looking at the original context and the most likely meaning.  Then we looked at two ways that Christians often get money wrong.  Next we looked at our own generosity and finally we talked about what I would consider the main point that we can apply; that is do we own our life or does God?

In this last post on this story I want to consider something that I think often gets lost when we read this.  And that is the last part where Peter and Jesus talk about the disciples and what they have left to follow Jesus.

Following Jesus’ teaching on how only God can let people in and that if you don’t surrender all to Him you won’t get in, Peter responds.  You can see the wheels turning in Peter’s head.  He says, “We have left everything to follow you.  What will there be for us?”

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Jesus Can Help You Attract Women

For over 20 years I’ve been inviting people to know and follow Jesus.  One of the things I like to do when I have time is to juxtapose two stories from the bible.

The first is the story of the wealthy young ruler who approaches Jesus.  The man kneels before Jesus, offers him some flattery and then asks what he needs to do to have real lasting life.  Jesus first brushes off the flattery and then tells him that he knows the rules of the kingdom.  The man says he”s kept all of those.  So not only was this man well off, but he was apparently a good guy.  But something was still missing.  Jesus then essentially says, “Sell everything you have, and come with me where I’m going.”  The man went away sad because his wealth was the center of his life and he was not leaving it.

The other story is from Luke.  In this story in the middle of the day, after teaching from his boat, Jesus tells Peter to go out into the water and drop his fishing net.  Peter basically tells Jesus that to do so is completely ridiculous.  They had worked all night (the right time to fish) and not caught anything.  But he does it anyway.  He then pulls in the catch of a lifetime.  He has to call others to help.  This was THE catch.  He could have just thanked Jesus and made a killing at the market.  But instead he realizes what is going on and falls to his knees. Jesus says, “Come with me.  From now on you will fish for men”.  Peter leaves THE catch on the beach and goes with him.

It’s the same invitation.  One man says yes and another says no.  One is with Jesus and the other is not. This theme plays out all through scripture.

There’s obviously about a zillion things we could pull from these stories.  But what I want to talk about today is that we as men can actually learn a lot from Jesus about how to approach and attract women.  Seriously.

Jesus was a guy that everyone wanted to be with.  People were drawn to Him period.  He knew His identity.  He was confident, strong, caring, smart, powerful, fun, charismatic, and fully alive.  He was exactly himself always.  He had integrity.  He initiated.  Quite simply Jesus was the most attractive person ever.  Jesus was hot!

Now Jesus knew that celibacy was required to accomplish His mission.  But you can bet women wanted to be with him.  So what can we learn from Him about pursuing women if He didn’t?  A lot actually.

For starters we need to recognize that if we walk with Him we can become all of the things that I listed in two paragraphs above.  If I’m in Christ then I can know where my identity comes from.  I should be becoming more confident, strong, caring, wise, etc.  Of course I’m not Jesus and therefore can’t live that out perfectly, but I should be becoming it.

But more than that we can learn from how Jesus interacted with those he called.

Jesus loved people.  He invited people to join Him, in all sorts of ways. Some joined him for a while and left.  Some walked away.  A few went with Him.  Here are a few take aways in terms of dating.

First, Jesus was inviting people to something.  As a man we need to be inviting the woman to come with us.  They are not the goal.  I’m pursuing a goal and I’m looking for someone to come with me in that.  This is a huge thought.  Women want someone who is going somewhere.  Call it ambition or direction or whatever, it is attractive.  If we don’t know what we are about and where we are going as well as how to communicate it, we run the risk of not being attractive, or of attracting the wrong person.

Second, Jesus asks and invites but He never begs.  This is actually true through the entire Bible.  God does NOT need us.  He wants us.  He loves us.  He pursues us.  But He is not begging us to be with Him.  He invites the rich man to leave it all, but he doesn’t beg him to.  In the same way we shouldn’t beg someone to date us.  Women like being wanted, but they can sense when they are needed.  If we can’t live without them, they don’t want to live with us – at least not for the long term.

Jesus, even though it saddened Him, let people walk away.  When the rich man walks Jesus doesn’t hesitate and say something like, “Hey wait a minute.  You know what, you obviously kind of like me and I want this to work out.  So how about you sell half.  Heck bring the rest with you and we’ll use it.”  He lets him walk.  It is good to pursue a woman.  It is a terrible idea to chase her.  Jesus was not (and is not) a stalker.  He is not waiting for us to make His life complete.  No one should hold that power over us either.

The reason we know Jesus loves us is that even though He doesn’t need us, He wants us. Some people say yes to that and some say no.  The truth is that you can’t love anybody that you have to have.  Love is a choice, not a compulsion.

If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear.

Satan Cares About Your Singleness

You’re not good looking enough.  There is no one for you.  You can’t get the one you want. You’re too fat (insert tall, skinny, short, etc).  No one cares.  Your church doesn’t care. You’re alone.  It’s all your fault.  You’ve already messed it up – God isn’t going to send you someone.  It doesn’t matter anyway go ahead and. . . .

Have you ever heard any of these in your head?  Ever wonder where they come from? What’s interesting is I’ve had a lot of these thoughts (and a host of others) at one time or another and yet that’s the only place I’ve heard them.  For example as I’ve mentioned before, I thought part of the reason I couldn’t succeed with women was that I wasn’t good enough looking – but a funny thing – no woman has ever actually told me that.

So where do all these thoughts come from?

There’s whole lot to consider here but we need to step back and get a look.

First off we are wounded in life.  Stuff happens.  We sin and others sin against us.  This starts pretty much the day we are born.  And guess what – it affects the way we think about ourselves.  This starts with our parents and the messages we receive from them and it just keeps going.  We receive a message and then there is an interpretation of that message.

Here’s an example.  When I was in third grade I got picked on by some sixth graders. They threatened me on the way home from school.  For the first time in my life as a kid, I was scared of injury from another person.  I can still see that kids fist in my face.

That’s one event.   But in my third grade mind I was now weak.  Once you have an interpretation other events begin to get interpreted the same way.  In fifth grade a peer straight up punched me in the face as hard as he could.  Now I didn’t even fall, but I didn’t fight back.  What’s interesting is that I could have thought, “I just took that kids best punch and I’m not hurt – I’m tough.” Instead, I took it as another confirmation that I was weak.

When we get wounded is we interpret it somehow.  And friends there is a freaking battle over that interpretation.  

There are three voices that come at us. The voice of God, our own voice, and the voice of the enemy – the demonic. Yup, you read that right.  There’s a spiritual war.  At least that’s what the Bible says.  Jesus talks about it, Paul talks about it, and Peter talks about it.  So if these guys are talking about it, seems like it might be real.

Now we in the western church like to say it’s real but then we live like it’s not.  Which is fairly stupid.  Sure once in a while we read a story or a book (hello C.S. Lewis and Screwtape – geesh even Lewis is talking about it, and if he says it’s real. . . ).  Now and then we mention it in a sermon.  But that’s about it for the most part.  It’s like “hey you’re in this war but don’t worry about it.”

We live our life like there are only two people on the stage – us and God.  This is not a good idea, and it’s not Biblical.  

At any rate, when a wounding event happens, the enemy wants to use it.  Now so too does God of course.  But the key is, who am I going to agree with?  When we agree with the enemy we give them power (a foothold if you will) and they can run with it.

This is why Paul says to take every thought captive.  Where is it coming from?  Own it.

What does this have to do with singleness?

Well it isn’t a singleness problem per se.  It’s an everybody problem.  But we are part of everybody and one of our contexts is singleness.  So if I’m the enemy and I know that you are single, and all that goes with that, I’m pretty sure I’m using it (in the same way if you are married I’m using that and all that goes with it).

Let’s assume the demonic are real. Think they might care who you date, what you do on a date or who or if you get married?  If you are called to singleness do you think they might want to mess with that?  Do you think they might want to use it against your relationship with God?

I’ll talk more about this – but for today I want to ask you this question.  Have you ever actually considered that the enemy cares about your singleness?

Paul says we fight a battle against flesh, the world, and the enemy.  We don’t get to leave any of those out.