God’s Hope for Your Heart from Matthew 19

JESUS WANTS TO FREE YOU FROM YOUR IDOLS

A man came up to [Jesus], saying, “Teacher, what good deed must I do to have eternal life?’ … “All these [commandments] I have kept. What do I still lack?” Jesus said to him, “If you would be perfect, go, sell what you posses and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.”  When the young man heard this he want away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.  (Matthew 19:16, 20-23)

Once again, Jesus goes straight for the heart.

It’s easy to look at this story and the passage that follows and draw a quick conclusion that wealth itself is a bad thing.  However, that’s not at all the case here.  The deep idol Jesus is going after isn’t the man’s money; that’s just a surface issue.

It’s his self-sufficiency.

Look a little closer… The man asks, “What good deed must I do …”  He claims “I have kept all the commandments You talked about.”  He had great possessions, and in a parallel telling of this account, he is called a “ruler.”

This is a guy who is used to calling the shots, being in charge, and having his ducks in a row.  He likely works hard at his occupation, and definitely works hard at his morality.  He has strived and saved and secured his own sense of well-being by his own effort, but somehow he knows he’s not quite there yet.  He knows there is still something more he’s missing, but his ideas of how to get it are misguided, and tragically common for most of us today.

For him to sell all he has and follow Jesus is for him to let go of everything he counted on to secure his future and abandon himself completely to the mercy of God.  It is a supreme leap of faith, and a step of obedience he’s just not ready to take.

As you follow Jesus, He loves you too much to let you remain in slavery to your idols.  He will bring about circumstances and opportunities for you to let go of them, and each time you don’t, your full experience of freedom in Christ gets a little farther away.

But, each time you do, the eternal life that already awaited you when you die gets a little closer, and begins to fill the life you live in the here and now.

May you trust Jesus in a deeper way today, letting go of self-sufficiency and trusting in the all-sufficient grace of our God.  As you do, you’ll receive a fresh helping of hope as you walk in this truth: Jesus wants to free you from your idols.

-Pastor Phillip


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