29. The Spiritual Swap Meet
Did you know that when we enter into the Christian life, we agree to participate in The Great Exchange? Living the Christian life is all about swapping our self-centered treasures with the genuine treasures of the kingdom, the Pearl of great price.
The swap meets near where I live are not genuine swap meets. The only swapping going on is the trading of cash for items. But I did attend a real swap meet once when I was a teenager. Hundreds of young people at a youth camp brought their treasures to swap with each other. I donít remember what I took to swap. But I still remember what I received in exchange, and I thought it was pretty special. I believe I got the better end of the deal.
Jesus has invited us to come to His Spiritual Swap Meet. And we can be assured that we will always get the better end of the deal when we trade in our treasures to Jesus.
The first thing we need to swap with Jesus is our heart. Jesus tells us He will take away our old stony hearts, and give us a new, soft heart. Our new hearts represent new spiritual capacity, so that we now have the ability to connect with Jesus. Our old hearts donít have that capability. So we must make this necessary swap.
We must give our entire self to God, which includes our selfish desires and plans, in complete surrender. And in return, we receive the selfless character of† Christ. He is willing to put His mind in us, so that we desire to do His will.† He leads us into His will, so we choose His plans instead of our own. What a valuable swap this is!
We must give our sins to Jesus, which He will trade for His righteousness. What a marvelous exchange that is! Surely we would never want to keep our sins, and forego such valuable treasure.
We are to give up our spiritual poverty, and receive the glorious spiritual riches of His kingdom. We are to give up our doubts, and receive His faith. We are to give up our ignorance, and receive His wisdom. We also give up our weakness to receive His strength.
This sounds to me like weíre getting the better end of the deal, doesnít it sound that way to you? He took the treatment that we deserve, so that we might be treated as He deserves. He died our death, so that we might live His life.
Donít let the devil tempt you for a minute to swap with him at his deadly swap meet. Oh, he does have some deceptive treasures, like sinful pleasures. But he requires that you trade in your hope of eternal life in order to receive any of his goods. He might let you enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season, as long as you sell your soul to him.
But Jesus asks us, What will it profit a man, if he gain the whole world, but lose his own soul? And what will a man give in exchange for his soul?
Indeed, is there anything worth holding on to at the risk of losing our eternal life? Whatever Jesus asks you to give to Him, He gives you something better.† What would you rather have: bitterness, anger and animosity, or love, forgiveness and peace in your heart. What would you choose: worry, stress, discontentment or confidence, assurance and cheerfulness? We always receive a superior gift when we trade in our sinful behaviors.
As you grow in your Christian experience, you will encounter attitudes, possessions, and plans that God asks you to give to Him. If you can always remember that God is ultimately giving you something much better than what He asks you to give up, the struggle wonít be so difficult.
Whatever God asks of us is actually for our own good, because He has our best interest in mind. Satan will be right there to trick you into thinking you should hang on to your wrong desires. He tries to make you think that you will be better off doing things your way rather than Godís way. But Jesus showed us that the essence of Christianity is to say, Not my will, Lord, but Your will be done.
When we learn to trust God enough to choose His will above our own will, we will truly understand how much He cares about us. He is wanting to open up our spiritual eyes so that we sense His love and His wisdom in dealing with us. Thatís the purpose of the Christian walk, to walk so closely with Jesus, that we are following in His steps. Our will becomes swallowed up in His will. We live His life.
As you consider participating in this Spiritual Exchange today, think of some things in your own life that you need to swap with Jesus. Do you have some bad habits that He would like for you to give up? What about some wrong attitudes, or sinful indulgences?† A delicious spiritual feast is so much more enjoyable than guilt-ridden lusts and perverted behavior. Jesus wants to replace the spiritually harmful things in your life with something much superior. Remember, He took your punishment, so you could have a seat with Him in His throne. He gave all for you, even His very life. Can you trust Him? Do you trust Him?
Jesus does require that you swap everything you have with Him. This is so He can give you everything He has. He will even give you the strength and desire to give up your stinking earthly treasures, so He can give you His incredible heavenly treasures.
So, donít focus on what He wants you to give up. Focus instead on what Heís giving you in exchange.
Delight in your new-found freedom from addictions, bad attitudes, and harmful indulgences.† Rejoice in the victories, the assurance, the spiritual power. He will always give you the better end of the deal. Praise God for His generous gifts to us!
2 Corinthians 5:21
2 Corinthians 8:9
Mark 8:36, 37
Mark 10:29, 30