Today we are confronted with our allegiances to things and our goodness and other idols. God wants us to be humble and put him ahead of ourselves. And anything we hold tighter than our trust in Him keeps us from truly knowing and experiencing God…
18 Once a religious leader asked Jesus this question: “Good Teacher, what should I do to inherit eternal life?”
19 “Why do you call me good?” Jesus asked him. “Only God is truly good. 20 But to answer your question, you know the commandments: ‘You must not commit adultery. You must not murder. You must not steal. You must not testify falsely. Honor your father and mother.’”
21 The man replied, “I’ve obeyed all these commandments since I was young.”
22 When Jesus heard his answer, he said, “There is still one thing you haven’t done. Sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”
23 But when the man heard this he became very sad, for he was very rich.
For the second time in recent days, we see Jesus deal with someone who thinks they are okay with God because they are keeping commandments. Remember the Pharisee who felt he was better than the tax collector because he tithed and fasted? No dice. That’s not what God wants. God wants us to be humble and put him ahead of ourselves.
We can’t keep something more precious than God in our hearts and still think we are connected to eternal life. We aren’t. For that Pharisee we looked at a few days ago, his superiority and self-righteousness were his god. He was not justified before God, his story says, because he so sure that he was justified by his works.
Isn’t the rich young man the same? He has kept all the commandments, he tells Jesus, yet he keeps his riches closer to his heart than God. He became sad when he heard that he had to sell everything to give his money to the poor. Some people think that means we all need to take a vow of poverty or redistribute all our wealth. Not so.
Jesus’ point was that anything we hold tighter than our trust in Jesus keeps us from truly knowing and experiencing Jesus. That thing has to go. And the sooner the better.
If that idol in my life is between me and God, is there a chance that I have missed knowing God altogether? Reality check. Eternal life is found always and only through Jesus.