The last few months, I’ve been on a journey through the Gospels. Yes, I said months. I’ve been slowly reading through and studying the life of Jesus. There has been a desire, more of a yearning actually, to hear and know the words of Christ.
Today as I read in Luke 18, verses 18-30 jumped out at me. My first thought was, “this passage describes so many people I know.” Then a quiet voice spoke to me, “Regina, this passage is for you. Read it again.”
We often look at these verses and come away thankful that we are not like this very rich man who let his wealth get in the way of following our Lord. I don’t think that is the lesson being taught.
This man was genuinely seeking answers. Why do I think that? He was a follower of the law. He was doing all the outward requirements. The religious leaders of the time would have pointed to him as an example to follow. He was wealthy and a ruler or official of some kind. He was the successful man that almost everyone desires to be, both then and now. Yet, he still approached Christ, somehow knowing there must be more.
Jesus spoke directly to his heart. He knew exactly what it was in this man’s life that was hindering him and it was what Christ required him to give up. To become a follower/disciple of Christ, we all have to put our trust in Him alone to save us. Not our wealth, not our church, not ourselves. Eternal life is what the rich, young man sought and he was “very sad” at the cost.
I know that my eternity is secure, so I come to Jesus with a different question. Instead of “What must I do to inherit eternal life,” my question is “What must I do to be more like you, Jesus?”
I find my answers very similar to those of the rich man. I obey your law, I do the right things. But Jesus knows my heart. He knows the area that I hold back from Him. He knows how I try to control certain aspects of my life and He calls for complete surrender, daily.
Some of the questions He has asked me: Are you willing to replace your dreams and goals with Mine? What about your family, are you willing to give them to me? Will you trade your list of do’s and don’ts for Mine? Are you willing to be uncomfortable? Are you willing to be stretched? Are you willing to miss out on family events? Are you willing to feel discouraged for my sake? Are you willing to trust Me to meet your needs and bring you strength? Are you willing to face your fears with faith that I will be with you?
Unlike the sadness that filled the young man in the Bible, my heart rejoices. My Father cares for me. He longs to walk with me, to teach me His ways. I have felt His strength lift me and carry me through times of weakness. He asks these questions because He loves me and wants me to have a life beyond what I am able to imagine. So my prayer of surrender is, “Show me what is holding me back from following You completely. And give me the strength to lay it down at your feet.”
“Come let us worship and bow down; Let us kneel before the Lord our Maker.
For He is our God, and we are the people of His pasture, and the sheep of His hand.
Today, if you would hear His voice, do not harden your hearts.” Ps. 95:6-8a