October 4, 2016

He thought he was good

The rich young ruler came to Jesus with a question.

In Mark 10:17, we find that the man even started out his question to Jesus in the correct position.

He came up to Jesus and knelt.

Kneeling is good, right?

If we want to get the attention of the Lord, bending the knee shows we mean business.

And then he addresses Jesus as "Good teacher," and it sounds a bit Eddie Haskle-like.

You know the ornery "Leave it to Beaver" character who, while really corrupt was always wanting to come off to others as a good young man, and he did it with flowery talk, and compliments.

People always saw through him.

And with the rich young ruler, Jesus saw through the facade.

He asks, "Why do you call me good?"

Jesus asks us the same question.

He knows what is in a heart, and if a person comes to him thinking they are good, they have something to learn, and the posturing we do is a moot point, and so are the compliments we give him.

He proceeds to tell the man that God alone is good, and he also says, in essence, "You already know all the commandments."

(As if it is enough to know all of them.)

In fact, the young man expresses with, what I believe was excitement, and he also shows Jesus what a quick study he is, because this time he addresses him correctly:

"Teacher, all these I have kept from my youth!"

He was telling Jesus, "See, I'm so good! I've been good a long time! Ever since I knew the commandments, I have kept them! See how good I am!"

And Scripture tells us that Jesus, always full of compassion, looked at the young man, and loved him.

And he said to him, "You lack one thing."

Uh-oh. Can you imagine the sinking feeling in that man's heart? The double-take he must have done?

He thought he was good!

And Jesus says, "Wait a minute. Stop posturing. You're are self-righteous."

He is saying to all of us, who think that we have kept all the law, "You are lacking."

The rich young ruler, who had knelt in front of Jesus, did not love his neighbor as himself.

Nor did he love God with all his heart.

What Jesus asked him to do were those two things.

He says the same to us.

Jesus did not say, "Sell all that you have and give it to the poor, and live in poverty forever after."

Jesus was saying, "Your professed goodness is proven in obedience. Love God, and that neighbor."

Oh....and one more thing, "Come, follow me, then you'll have treasure in heaven."

That man's treasure was here on earth.

His treasure was where his heart was.

Where's yours?

Where is your treasure, and where is your heart?

It is proven in your walk.

Do you think that you are good?

Ever since you knew not to lie, steal, or cheat, you haven't done those things?

But do you love God with all your heart, and your neighbor as yourself, and are you still following Jesus by walking as he commands, and by living solely for God alone?

The rich young ruler left the presence of Jesus sad.

Are you sad?

Does joy like a river only flow through you when you sing the song, "I've got joy like a river?"

And then when you walk away after singing, then does the joy flow?

And the love like a river, is it in you?

You will never need to sing "Fill my cup Lord," ever again after God fills you one time.

Being attached to the Vine includes constant filling.

You cannot produce fruit unless you are in the Vine (John 15:4).

Would you say that you are in Jesus?

If that is true, then you produce love, and joy, and peace always.

By this one sign will all men know that you are his disciple.

Love (John 13:35).

You can think that you are good, but if love is not flowing, then you know not the God of love.

Do you love?

Does your love start, and stop, and come, and go, and yet you think you are good?

Do you walk away from your devotions still sad, and do you need sunshine, and fresh fruit, and a good walk, or anything else to bring a smile to your face, for the moment, and then you need all that, and Jesus, again later, and it is never enough to simply know, and follow Jesus for joy to be in you?

The world is like that without claiming to know Jesus.

If you know the prince of peace, and the God who is love, then you are never in need.

You always love.

Otherwise what difference does knowing Jesus make in your life?

It's not what you don't do that makes any difference in your soul.

It is what you do.

You love when you know God (I John 4:7-8).

You know God through repentance.

Do the material things that you have belong to you?

Or is everything, every last thing, dross?

Where is your treasure?

When it lies only in God, then you are free.

You can think that you are good, but let a child's chocolatey mouth rub up against your pretty clothes.

What happens?

You can think that you are good, but then a friend, husband, or family member betrays you.

Then what?

You can think that you are good, and then hear Jesus still saying, "Follow me."

Then what do you do?

Do you argue with him?

Do you get on your knees, and say flowery words to him?

Or are you obedient, and do you really follow him?

Do you know how he walked, and do you know his words?

Do you meditate in them day, and night, and are you like a tree planted by the river who yields fruit?

Or do you just think that you are good?

What must you do to be saved?

Do you know for sure, and have you asked Jesus about that?

Don't ask your pastor, or a fiend, or Beth Moore.

Ask Jesus. Study his words. Repent.

Don't walk away sad.

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