In his epistle to Timothy, Paul instructed "those that be rich in this world" to "lay hold on that which is truly life" (1 TIMOTHY 6:19, Greek-English Interlinear). Why waste the few years we are given laying hold on that which is not truly life? Those gates are crowded. Find the "narrow gate" where few are entering in. Grab onto that life and don’t let go for anything.
The English phrase "Laying hold on", is from the Greek word epilambanomai. The first usage of the phrase in the New Testament is quite inspiring, for it was when our Lord had encouraged Peter to step out of the boat and walk to Him on the water. Peter actually did begin to walk on the water but as he saw the "wind boisterous", he became afraid and began to sink into the sea. "Immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him" (epilambanomai, laid hold on him).
Just as surely as the Lord called unto Peter to step out of the security of the boat, so we have been called away from the world unto His hidden kingdom. We have heard HIS whispers, we have received HIS sowing; all that remains is for us to answer the call, then to continue in HIS word, to grow strong in the faith and finally to bear the fruit of the true vine, so that at our resurrection we can be declared righteous and worthy of our calling.
We have been born into a new world. Dare we now turn back to the security of the boat? Dare we be as Peter did on a later occasion, when after all that he had experienced with his Lord, proclaimed "I go a fishing" (JOHN 21:3). He had witnessed Yeshua's (Jesus’) ministry being offered and then rejected. He had experienced signs, miracles and wonders. He had seen the transfiguration, the empty tomb and his risen Lord. Now it seems as if he thought he could return to the way things were before, to his former lifestyle. It is then that the Lord charged him with this reality,Now is the time for us to go forth. We can’t go back. "No man, having put his hand to the plough, and turning back, is fit for the kingdom of God" (LUKE 9:62). We are responsible for the talents we have been given. Dare we bury them? Why should we wait till our bodies are old before we decide to enter life? Now we can structure our own time but when we are old, another will structure it for us. Let us in our youth develop our relationship with HIM who has ordained our purpose. Let us enjoy the treasures of HIS wisdom now. Let us "lay hold on that which is truly life" today, while it is yet being offered.
JOHN 21:18 Verily, verily, I say unto thee, When thou wast young, thou girdedst thyself, and walkedst whither thou wouldest: but when thou shalt be old, thou shalt stretch forth thy hands, and another shall gird thee, and carry thee whither thou wouldest not.
Our Lord is the way into true life. Let us follow Him. Let us take upon us His yoke. Once we have left behind the bondage of Egypt, and we are no longer entangled with its affairs, only then we can enter life and see that the "living GOD…giveth us richly all things to enjoy" (1 TIMOTHY 6:17).
It is not simply the pleasures of this world that GOD warns us to avoid, it’s the entanglements. Each believer has to learn for himself just what those entanglements are. Entering GOD’s kingdom does not forbid us from taking advantage of this world’s conveniences or from enjoying their comforts and amusements. What we are forbidden from taking unto us is their religious philosophies, their morals, their allegiances and their pursuits and purposes.
Of course there may come times in each of our lives when we become weary of the good fight. We can’t avoid it, for the flesh is weak. But whatever the challenge be, we are confident that our Creator knew of it long before it made its way unto us. HE has the ability to strengthen us so that we can overcome that which seeks our demise.
More often than not though, our strength comes in our being made ready. It is in our daily routine that HE makes us ready for tomorrow’s challenges. That is why our daily routine must become one that cultivates our minds with the words of GOD. We are not going to be ready for anything if our daily routine does not have some structure whereby we can receive and apply HIS words.
When the time was nigh that Yeshua would ascend into heaven, He told His followers that He would not leave them comfortless. He promised them that the Father would send them the spirit of truth, which He assured them would "teach you all things [revelation]" and "bring all things to your remembrance [inspiration]" (JOHN 14:26). Likewise, we read in Paul's letter to the believers at Philippi of a similar assurance.
PHILIPPIANS 2:13; 3:15 For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure…Let us therefore, as many as be perfect [complete, finished], be thus minded: and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you.
Can we also not find comfort and encouragement in these words? HE desires to reveal the true way into HIS hidden kingdom. HE that inhabits eternity seeks to lead HIS people through the narrow gate into life. But this result is not obtained lightly. It is not just a walk in the park. One must "continue in the faith" to be presented "holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight" (COLOSSIANS 1:22-23). If we are not "grounded and settled" we are likely to be carried off as slaves by the rulers of this world. That is what being "spoiled" means in the following verse.
COLOSSIANS 2:8 Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments [first principles] of the world, and not after Christ.
Each step is either a walk "after Christ" or a walk "after the rudiments of the world". There are two roads, two ways. One into slavery and the other into liberty. All men are marching to one or the other and we are each responsible for the path we choose.
Believers who are now risen with Christ are instructed to seek "those things which are above", that kingdom which is hidden. All of GOD’s creation points to that hidden world. The earthly creation points to the heavenly, the terrestrial points to the celestial. Because HE spoke this world into existence, HIS words, HIS spirit, HIS very breath can be seen in every detail. From the sprouting of a tiny seedling in the soil, to the turning of the entire universe upon its axis, all was set in motion by HIS words.
GOD reveals himself through HIS words. For those who have eyes to see and ears to hear, our Creator has hidden awesome treasures for us to unearth in HIS classroom of life. Towards this end HE has given us breath, and sustenance, and memory, and speech. HE has given us the full spectrum of emotions, from experiencing the wonder of birth to the agony of death. From sunsets to music, from the scent of a Rose to the sensation of touch, HIS goodness calls out to us from all quarters. All is for the purpose of revealing himself to us.
If we would but look we would see. If we would but listen we would hear. HE is there. Just beyond our reach, but HE is there all the same. How does HE work within us? In our minds! HE designed our minds to be able to know HIM. The five senses are only there to give our brains stimuli, which can then paint a mental picture for us of who GOD is. Our brains are the canvas upon which GOD paints for our being who HE is.
We are told that GOD is love, but what is love? We have to be shown. GOD is spirit, but what is spirit? We have to learn. GOD is holy, but what does that mean? GOD is mighty, GOD is great, GOD is righteous, GOD is merciful. But GOD is also a consuming fire and HE is a jealous GOD. Yet HE is gracious and HE is faithful and HE is a refuge. These are words that mean nothing to an infant and only take on meaning as we learn and grow into adulthood. One of the purposes of life is to teach us who this unknown GOD is, and this is accomplished with words, words that paint pictures.
In that quest to know HIM we find our own destiny. A great musician can bring forth a symphony from a blank piece of paper, and an artist can render a beautiful painting from an empty canvas. When we are born from above, we also are blank and unmarred. Each day is a brush stroke. Each experience is a new note. Over the course of our new life, GOD is painting a masterpiece, "For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus…" (EPHESIANS 2:10).
That treasure finally being discovered, that hidden kingdom being found, that door being entered, we can then stand before any man, and with earnest exclaim, "I would to God, that not only thou, but also all that hear me this day, were both almost, and altogether such as I am, except these bonds".