Do you treasure Christ? How are you to know for sure?
I've recently been reading a book by the Puritan Thomas Watson entitled A Godly Man's Picture. The book is a part of the Puritan Paperback series available at Banner of Truth (They are on sale right now!). In the book, he lists eight characteristics of those who hold Christ as their supreme treasure. Read these slowly and introspectively. Ask God to reveal to you the true condition of your heart:
1. "If we are prizers of Christ, then we prefer him in our judgments before other things."
Watson expands on this point: "He who prizes Christ counts the worst things of Christ better than the best things of the world... You will hear some say they have honourable thoughts of Christ, but they prize their land and estate above Him... May it not be feared, if an hour of trial comes, that there are many who would rather renounce their baptism, and throw off Christ's livery, than hazard the loss of their earthly possessions for Him?" People who treasure Christ want Him more than riches, success, or any other worldly gift.
2. "If we are the prizers of Christ, we cannot live without Him; things which we value we know not how to be without."
Are you content having the things of this world without Christ? If so, your treasure if not Jesus. Watson continues: "Let us test by this - do they prize Christ who can manage well enough to be without Him? Give a child a rattle, and it will not want gold. If men only have worldly provisions, 'corn and wine', they can be content enough without Christ." What is it that you want more than anything right now? If you could only have one thing in the world, would it be Christ?
3. "If we are prizers of Christ, then we shall not complain at any pains to get him."
Watson is saying that people who claim they love Christ, yet will not do anything hard to know Him more, do not really love or treasure Him. He asks an important question, "Does he who not take medicine or exercise prize his health?" In other words, can someone who claims they care about their health eat junk food all the time and never work out? Can someone claim Christ as their treasure yet never spend any time with Him in prayer or in His Word? By no means.
4. "If we are prizers of Christ, then we take great pleasure in Christ."
"He who prizes Christ makes Him his greatest joy." If Christ is your treasure, He is your greatest joy. He will be the One that lifts your affections and joy to the utmost place.
5. "If we are prizers of Christ, then we will part with our dearest pleasures for Him."
The person that treasures Christ forsakes all worldly pleasure for the greatest pleasure, Christ Himself. Watson says, "How can they be said to prize Christ who will not leave a vanity for Him? What scorn and contempt they put on the Lord Jesus who prefer damning pleasure before a saving Christ!" In other words, you can't treasure Christ and treasure sin too.
6. "If we are prizers of Christ, we shall think we cannot have Him at too dear a rate."
There is no price to great to pay to treasure Christ above all. There is no amount of famine, persecution, or loss that can ever be 'not worth it' to treasure Christ. As Watson puts it, "We may buy gold too dearly but we cannot purchase Christ too dearly."
7. "If we are prizers of Christ, we will be willing to help others to get a part in Him."
"If a man has found a spring of water, he will call others that they may drink and satisfy their thirsts." It is impossible to truly treasure Christ and not tell anyone about Him. A sure sign that you do not treasure Christ is that your lips are sealed when you meet unbelievers.
8. "If we are prizers of Christ, then we prize Him in health as well as in sickness; when we are enlarged, as well as when we are straitened."
People who treasure Christ do not forget about Him when things are going great or run from Him when things are going bad. They love and cherish Him when the bank account is overflowing and when it is empty. Sinners run to Christ when things are bad, but deny His existence when things are good. As Watson says, "Godless persons never look for Christ except at death, when they are in danger of hell."
I am a Husband to Clarissa, Pastor at Liberty Baptist Church, reader of many books, and tweeter at @brad_merchant.