For more than two thousand years, a question Jesus asked has haunted and hounded the human race . . .

What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul?

(Matthew 16:26)

When you take a moment to meditate on this question and marinate in it, it seems to be as comforting as it is challenging. And never in the history of mankind has this question been more relevant and more demanding of a carefully and prayerfully thought-out response than it is today in the 21st century.

What good would it do you to gain the whole world if you were to forfeit your very soul in the process?

This profound question is rooted in a single word: contentment. In our Western society, contentment seems to be as far away from many of us as the east is from the west. Everyone is seeking contentment, but few find it. From Madison Avenue to Hollywood, we are bombarded daily with advertising in print, movies, television, and the Internet—messages designed to manipulate us from the inside out, causing us to crave all sorts of stuff we don’t need, buy it with money we don’t have, in order to impress people we don’t even care about.

But this is not for you! Our Master’s words stand in stark contrast to the messages we receive through the media. Jesus knows exactly what we need and what is best for us in every given set of circumstances. Can you think of any moment in your life, right up to this moment now, when our Lord did not give you exactly what you needed?

Notice I did not way “what you wanted” in the previous sentence, because “needs” and “wants” are not the same thing. Every one of us gets caught up in the latest fads and trends; we want stuff we don’t need, which pulls us away from the godly life in order to chase after what the world tells us is “the good life.”

Yet experience has taught us well that the only truly good life we will find on this side of the grave IS the godly life, which is rooted in a right relationship with our Lord Jesus Christ. It is not sinful to desire some of the “stuff” of life, and our God graciously gives us many of those things. But when the desire for stuff dominates our lives, we are in danger of drifting away from the only One who truly matter in both life and death: the Lord Jesus Christ.

So let me close with this question: What is the deepest desire of your heart today? If it is anything smaller than Jesus, it is too small to pursue and will leave you on the wrong side of the cosmic cost-benefit analysis.

This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!

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