“It’s the principle of the thing.” I once led a Bible study many years ago where two of the men who attended detested each other, it was over money, and it was well known that if the money supposedly owed would have been finally paid to the other individual, it would have made no difference in their feelings towards each other, it was the principle of the thing.
When the Lord Jesus healed ten lepers, (Luke 17:11-19) only one returned to give thanks, the majority of the people that followed Him only wanted something from Him, something that would cure their current ailment or infirmity, something that would make them feel better for the moment, the words of eternal life were not what they were concerned with. It hasn’t changed much over the centuries, nor is it any different today for most, “I will follow you, as long as you do this for me, it is, after all, the principle of the thing.”
The gift of eternal life in the presence of the Most High, the great privilege to be called a son, or daughter, of God Himself, (John 1:12) These are not enough, to be satisfied with the provisions necessary for the continuation of the flesh, food, water, raiment (Matt. 6:33) is not enough, because we have seen what the world has to offer us, we want, in part at least, what is offered, and we are rarely satisfied with the knowledge and assurance of what will be. The finest item that you have ever desired over your entire life will not be able to be compared to even the least item that you will possess in heaven.
“Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding.” (Prov. 4:7) With wisdom comes knowledge, with knowledge comes discernment, and with discernment, we gain more wisdom, the principal matter is all that matters.
Pride is what kept those two men in the Bible study from forgiving, for a few pieces of paper with numbers on them, for some pieces of paper that have nothing more than an agreed value in the eyes of the world, a brotherly friendship was lost, and in one way, the furtherance of the kingdom of God was hindered.
One man came back, the principal thing was not that he was cured of his leprosy, it was that the Lord had seen fit to be merciful to him, the principal thing was not the healing, but the One who did the healing.
Some of the most profound words ever spoken in the history of mankind were spoken by men who understood the principle of the thing. “Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him: but I will maintain mine own ways before him.” (Job 13:15) “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” (Phil. 1:21) “Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.” (Luke 23:34)
The principle of the thing is God Almighty, for without Him there would be nothing. Mankind has forgotten this, and it is one of the main reasons that we are in the days that are here, two thousand years of grace is coming to a close, the One who is jealous for His name will begin to show mankind who is the principal thing.
All that you have, including your life, your soul, comes from God, all is His, and whether He decides to remove all from you or allow you to keep it, we are to praise Him, He is to always be the focus of our lives, He is always the principal thing. “And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.” (Col. 3:17) We must have the attitude of Joshua in these evil days, in these days where Satan is being allowed more free will with each passing day, where the Lord is warning through signs and wonders, and through those that He has chosen of His coming wrath, we must be able to say, “But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.” (Joshua 24:15) The Lord must always be the principal thing, or we have nothing.