AN INVITATION TO EXPERIENCE A SPIRITUAL LIFE – Part 1

Posted: April 28, 2012 in Books, Christianity, Education, Family, History, Life, Lifestyle, News, Parenting, Quotes, Uncategorized

“Jesus looked at him and loved him. ‘One thing you lack,’ he said. ‘Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.'”

– Mark 10:21 NIV

In the time I have meditated and reflected upon the principle of success and the subject of wealth, I have been led to read and review the discourse between Jesus and the rich young ruler illustrated in the gospel of Matthew, Mark and Luke. One significant distinction between the gospels, regarding this story, is the verse of scripture used to lead into today’s post. From the world’s perspective, the rich young ruler has achieved and attained great success. So much so, he is described as rich and one having great wealth. During the discourse of their conversation, however, Jesus declares that there is one thing the rich young ruler still lacks. Jesus explains, in the gospel of John, that no one can come to Him unless the Father draws him (see John 6:65). So there is something happening internally in the life of this young man that draws him to come to Jesus and helps him to discover that in all his wealth and success, there is still something lacking that he will discover he cannot achieve, or attain, on his own.

When I take the time to consider the manner in which the young man approaches Jesus in his attempt to discover what it would take to inherit eternal life, it appears the young man is operating from the perspective that there is something he can do to attain, or achieve, the free gift of salvation God provides to everyone through faith and grace. ‘Good teacher,’ he asked, ‘what must I do to inherit eternal life?’ – Mark 10:17 NIV I am learning that seeking and striving to operate solely from the principles of success, apart from faith in Christ and reliance upon the principles of scripture in reverence to God as the source of one’s success, will cause one to adopt a false sense of self sincerely believing they are the reason behind their achievement without a genuine acknowledgement of God for what He did, by grace, to aid them.

When you look at Jesus’ initial response to the young man’s inquiry, I believe it reveals to us a possible motive in the young man’s approach that may not be genuine or sincere. Keeping in mind Jesus knew the thoughts and motives of men’s hearts, Jesus could see right through the platitudes the young man began his approach with and speak to the heart of his misunderstanding of the way to salvation through faith in Christ. ‘Why do you call me good?’ Jesus answered. ‘No one is good except God alone. You know the commandments: ‘Do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not give false testimony, do not defraud, honor your father and mother.’ For those who believe being a good person or doing some good deed is the means by which one would inherit eternal life, they should pay close attention to the conversation shared between Jesus and this young man. Knowing the thoughts and intentions of his heart, Jesus was challenging the young man’s belief in himself, that his goodness as a person and the good he seeks to do will be enough to achieve and attain what he is seeking from his inquiry from Jesus. Usually when someone is asked why they believe they’re going to heaven, they may include reasons similar to what Jesus uses to enlighten the young man He is talking with. You know, ‘I should get into heaven, because I don’t lie, steal, cheat, murder, and I believe I’m a good person, etc.’

The commandments were never to be used as a means for eternal salvation, but as a standard by which God’s people would distinguish themselves from the nations around them as God’s people, because they would follow God’s law. “All these I have kept,” the young man said. “What do I still lack?” – Matthew 19:20 NIV When you carefully observe the course of the conversation the young man initiated with Jesus, you begin to witness the young man’s attempt to continue to push the notion of believing he must do something to inherit eternal life. He has also convinced himself of his own merit of goodness suggesting through his inquiry that he is not lacking by inquiring of what he could still possibly lack if he has kept the commandments since his youth. Although Jesus didn’t quote all of them, the first two being the fulfillment of all the law, the audacity of the young man to declare he has kept them all since his youth reveals the lack of humility, reverence and sincerity God desires in those who are sincere seekers. When Jesus stated, ‘Keep the commandments,’ a sincere seeker would have hung his or her head at that moment understanding that their own initiative would not be sufficient for salvation by obeying God’s law. In closing, also consider how others came to Jesus who sincerely sought Him for something they needed, or desired from Him, and you would see the young man’s approach was inspired from a posture that he already had all he needed, thus he could suggest, ‘What do I still lack?’

May God bless you and help you to come to Him sincerely seeking Him for answers to your questions, salvation and to experience the fullness of life Christ came for us to have.

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