The rich young man spoke these words in Matthew 19:16 and essentially, many Christians say the same today. Now granted, we may not actually say the words, but our actions speak otherwise.
Got to attend church service? Check!
What about giving? Sure, good Christians do that.
Treat others the way I would want to be treated? I’m trying ok!
Forgive when you’ve been wronged? Now this is getting tough!
Already doing those and more? Well good. But don’t get too smug yet. Just like the rich young man, there is always that one thing that is hard to surrender to God. For that man in the passage in Matthew, it was his possessions. And when Jesus asked him to sell all he had, he went away sorrowful (Matthew 19:21-22). He couldn’t do it. He couldn’t surrender all to Jesus.
The question to ask is, what does Jesus want me to surrender in order for me to follow him wholeheartedly? What is that thing that has you in its grasp, that is more important to you than God? Whatever it is, only you know if it’s keeping you from giving yourself to Him completely. Only you know how attached you are to that thing, how much you need it in your life.
Can Christ replace the things you’re holding on to so tightly? Can he ease the fear you have of complete surrender? Is your faith more than a shallow belief rooted in a comfortable form of discipleship that doesn’t ever sacrifice? Let us strive to put God at the center of our lives and allow him to cleanse us and purge out the things of this world that are keeping us from having an intimate relationship with Him.
“Our Christian faith is more than a way to find forgiveness for our sins in order to enter eternal life, yet it is that. It is more than a system of right beliefs about ultimate truth and the order of things, though it is that. And it is more than just a way to find God’s comfort in times of trouble or a helpful code of conduct for how to live a good and productive life, though it is those things too. No, it is a call to leave everything else behind, follow our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and join in the great mission of Christ in our world. It is a call to live as Jesus lived, to love as Jesus loves and treasure what Jesus treasures. It is a call to forsake all else and follow him. Only then can we become completed people- people living according to God’s deepest purpose for our lives. Only then will we find our life’s great adventure.”
(Richard Stearns, “Unfinished”)