Matthew 19:16 “And, behold, one came and said unto him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?”
Many came to Jesus only to walk away unsaved. They found what he had to say hard to accept or hard to understand. When compared to what they had been taught or already knew, this teaching was unique.
Jesus challenged the culture and religious system of the day. He was unfettered by the challenges given Him by the religious leaders. As Jesus’ teaching became widely known, the challenge came to the common man as well. Each took the truth they heard and made it personal.
It struck me today that this young rich man was seeking the truth. Having come to Jesus, I believe his question was sincere. I feel though that he was quite unprepared for the answer.
Jesus’ reply was simple.
Matthew 19:17 “And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.”
The young man asked for clarification, and Jesus responded.
Matthew 19:18-19 “He saith unto him, Which? Jesus said, Thou shalt do no murder, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Honour thy father and thy mother: and, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.”
Then, there seemed to be a missing piece to the puzzle. The young man replied:
Matthew 19:20 “The young man saith unto him, All these things have I kept from my youth up: what lack I yet?”
Then, the Omniscient, Omnipotent, Omnipresent God, answered knowing the one thing that stood in this young man’s way to being saved.
Matthew 19:21 “Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me.”
It must have caused his heart to sink. Jesus hit a nerve in this young man that caused all his confidence to wane and his desire to vaporize. Once he heard, he saw what Jesus was asking as impossible.
Matthew 19:22 “But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful: for he had great possessions.”
We all have pillars in our life that make up our belief system.
Some trust their upbringing or heritage, or family name.
Others will trust religious training: some, their wealth or their intellect.
Many will trust in their work ethic or their ability to solve problems.
No matter what the case, God will strike at the heart of everyone to show us the faultiness of each.
These pillars must fall for us to see Jesus Christ as all-sufficient for our salvation.
God gave the Israelites the law to see their inadequacy and inability to keep the whole law without fault. The law was designed to be a mirror to show us our sinfulness, not justify our righteousness.
Any claim to righteousness outside of Jesus shed blood alone is a faulty pillar that must be knocked down for one to be genuinely saved.
Once saved, we have remaining pillars that need to be leveled as well.
Some of the same ones that kept us from salvation can become stumbling blocks if not surrendered to God. Wealth, intellect, heritage, talent, and many others need to be laid upon the altar of sacrifice.
Romans 12:1-3 “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.”
It becomes a relinquishing of power, knowledge, and will to the One who has our best interest in mind. God has already planned out our life for us. As a purchased possession of the Lord Jesus Christ, we must realize that we are bound by contract to give our lives over to be used by the Owner.
1 Corinthians 6:19-20 “What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.”
As we go through this life, God will keep reminding us of those pillars that stand in the way of His will being accomplished in our life. Our part in the relationship is to remain humble, submitted, available, and usable when God comes to remove another pillar that stands in His way.
We often think we can do it better than God or without His help. Neither of these is true statements.
As God reveals them to us, may we be willing participants in the deconstruction of the old man and the new transformation!