Tag Archives: the rich young ruler

Walking With Jesus

I grew up in church. My family went every time the doors were open. I don’t remember missing many Sunday’s either. We went to Sunday School each week, children’s church, Vacation Bible School at all the churches and kid’s camp. I even attended a Christian school. I grew up learning, studying and knowing the Bible. When I became an adult, I began to think that my knowledge was adequate and I didn’t need to study or read it as much. My church attendance became a habit instead of a desire. What was adequate quickly turned to arrogance. I didn’t realize that I was slipping away from God because I was relying on my head knowledge of Him. It didn’t take long before I started reaping the consequences of my actions and regret set in.

In Mark 10:17-27 a young man came running up to Jesus. He asked what all he needed to do in order to be saved. Jesus quoted several of the commandments and told him to obey them. The guy, like me, replied that he had been following them since he was young. Verse 21 says, “Jesus fixed his gaze upon the man, with tender love, and said to him, ‘Yet there is still one thing in you lacking. Go, sell all that you have and give the money to the poor. Then all of your treasure will be in heaven. After you’ve done this, come back and walk with me’” (TPT). The man walked away from Jesus in regret instead of with Him. He struggled, like many of us, in moving from a knowledge based obedience into a heartfelt obedience.

It’s good to have knowledge of God’s Word, but it’s more important that it gets into our heart. Psalm 119:11 says, “Your word I have treasured and stored in my heart, That I may not sin against You” (AMP). When we keep His Word in our heads, it can lead to arrogance and regret. When we keep it in our hearts, it keeps us from sinning against Him. Does your knowledge of the Bible and God give you justification for missing daily reading or prayer time? If so, it’s stored up in your head instead of your heart. Knowing about God and what He said is not the same as knowing God and hearing from Him. One leads to regret. The other leads to walking with Jesus as a disciple. When we walk with Him, we become more like Him.

Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

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The Box Checker Mentality

When I was in my teens, I was in a scouting program through my church. I had a plan to get my Gold Medal of Achievement (Eagle Scout equivalent) before I turned 18. I had a lot of badges to get. One of them was the Bachelor merit. I had to plan three meals a day for the family, create a shopping list for it, go to the store to get it, prepare those meals, make my bed every day, clean the house, etc. Each merit had a list of activities that had to be done and signed off on before I could earn it.

It taught me to be goal oriented and to work well with lists. The downside of it is I got the mentality of a box checker. I thought all I needed to do to be successful was to check off certain boxes and it would happen. If I wanted to be more spiritual, I just needed to figure out which boxes to check and I’d be good. Do you ever feel that way? Do you think, “What do I need to do to be _________?” It’s the box checker mentality.

A box checker came to Jesus in Matthew 19, and he asked what he needed to do to get to Heaven. Jesus gave him a list of commandments to be checked off. Then in verse 20, he said he had checked off those boxes, and wanted to know what other boxes there were. Jesus told him to sell all he had and follow Him. He and the disciples were perplexed and wondered who could get into Heaven. That’s when Jesus told them that getting into Heaven isn’t about checking boxes.

In verse 26 Jesus said, “With people [as far as it depends on them] it is impossible, but with God all things are possible” (AMP). There is so much in life that isn’t about what we do, but what God does. We want to earn it, but it’s impossible. What do you need to do to get God to love you more? What do you need to do get His favor? We have this mind that says, “If I check off these boxes, then God will …” Jesus was saying go the rich young ruler, and to us, “Quit trying to check boxes.” When we do that, we think we can earn His favor or His grace, but they are gifts freely given. It’s hard to do, but we need to let God do what only He can do because it doesn’t depend on us.

Photo by Glenn Carstens-Peters on Unsplash

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