A Call to Stand Apart: Day #5

My Prayer:  Lord, please help me to not only want to follow you, but to actually but those wants into action.  I want people to look at me and see a Christian ALL of the time…not just some of the time. -Amen

What Blessed Me From Chapter 5:

Honestly…whenever I read the story of the rich young ruler in Matthew 19:16-22, I get really sad.  Not just because he “went away sorrowfully”, but because the story convicts me, also a young person.  How many of us have spent our entire lives just trying to do the right thing (sometimes just to have it blow up in our faces…but I digress…), trying to be the “best Christian” we can be as far as going by the letter.  But God is telling us…we lack one thing.  And I believe it’s more than just about selling and giving to the poor.  Way more.  I think the underlying issue here…is SACRIFICE.  How much are we willing to give up to follow God and help win souls for Him?

– “If the ruler had joined Jesus, he would have been a great power for good. If he’d made the choice to be a disciple, how different his life would have been.  His life could have become all he wanted it to be. But one thing was missing, just one! To sell and distribute his great wealth and join Jesus would have corrected that one weakness. That action would have emptied self-interest from his life and filled it instead with the love of God. Jesus asked him to make a choice between worldly wealth and heavenly worth (ACS, p. 27).”  ~~ That’s the AMAZING thing about God’s love for us…He never leaves any sacrifice, or anything done for Him, unrewarded.

– ” To join Jesus meant that this young man had to accept a life of self-denial[…] If he had sensed what he would gain in the gift Jesus offered, he would.   Instead, he reflected on what he would lose[…] Yes, he desired eternal life. But he didn’t want all that sacrifice. Finally, having thought it through, he walked away in great sadness. The cost of eternal life seemed too high (ACS, p. 27, 28)” ~~ But seriously…what greater cost could there be than the one that Jesus came to pay?  Is there any greater sacrifice than the laying down of one’s life?

– “Many today face the same choice. They weigh the competing claims of the spiritual world and the material world. And like the young ruler, they turn away from Jesus and say, ‘I can’t serve this Man (ACS, p. 28).‘” ~~ Sound familiar?  Maybe not in so many words but…it sadly definitely rings true.

– “The ruler had been given much so he could demonstrate generosity. It’s the same today. God gives us talents and opportunities to work with Him in helping the poor and suffering. Whenever we use our gifts this way, we partner with God to win others for Christ. Those who enjoy positions of great influence and financial security may think the cost to follow Jesus is too great. But self-surrender is at the very heart of what it means to be His follower.  Often this reality is expressed in language that sounds demanding, but God has no other way to save us except to separate us from whatever will ultimately destroy us (ACS, p. 28).” ~~ !!!! That last sentence right THERE! Mercy!  Smh…I may have to do a separate blog post on that altogether because if that isn’t the truth in its purest form…smh.  But even then…you have to allow Him to do that separation and be willing to accept it…I’ll wait.  Another story for another time…

When looking at the story of the rich young ruler in contrast to that of Matthew the tax collector…we see one who made the sacrifice for the One who could give him what he could never buy…

– “Sitting at his tax desk one day, Matthew saw Jesus approaching. Moments later he was astonished to hear Jesus say, “Follow Me.” Matthew stood up from his desk, left everything as it was, turned away, and followed Jesus. He didn’t hesitate, didn’t question, didn’t give a moment’s thought to his lucrative business or the poverty he was about to receive in exchange. For Matthew, it was enough to be with Jesus, to listen to His words, and to work with Him (ACS, p. 29).”

– “[…] it is only when we renounce our31self-interest that we can become a believer, a follower, a disciple of Jesus. The rich young ruler couldn’t bring himself to do it. Matthew did. One made the right choice; the other didn’t. Matthew was converted and entered a life of joyfilled service. The other continued a life of human prestige, wealth—and emptiness. One found eternal life; the other missed it. When we renounce self-interest, the Lord animates us with new life. Only “new bottles” can contain the “new wine” of a life renewed in Christ (ACS, p. 31).”

– I feel like I definitely just copied and pasted the entire chapter but it was REALLY good and I couldn’t expound upon it anymore than was already said.  This has definitely been my favorite chapter of the book so far.

*Feel free to leave your thoughts below*

Tonight’s Reading:  Section 1, Chapter 6 – “The Answer Lies in the Soil” (p. 32-38)

Love and God Bless,

– T


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