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Lenten Devotional – Day 7

Lent 3When I think about what Jesus gave up for me on the cross I can’t help but wonder at our contrast.  What would I be willing to give up for someone who had wronged me?

Jesus met with a prominent man who had toed the line of morality and religious rules well for years.  Jesus’s friend Matthew records his observations of the interaction in his gospel – Matthew 19:16-30.

Jesus used questions to communicate with this young man.  When Jesus listed many of the 10 commandments the rich young ruler stated that he had successfully obeyed them all.

It’s interesting to note that Jesus did not correct him.  The disciples must have been impressed with the man’s spiritual display as well.  The rich young man’s external choices of obedience and worship were good.

But Jesus knows our hearts – better than we know them ourselves.

Jesus says, “If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.”  With this second statement, Jesus channels to the man’s internal loyalty to possessions before God.

The first commandment, Thou shalt have no other gods before me, was not in the young man’s list of successes.  Jesus gave him an opportunity to realign his worship by walking away from entrapment of possessions to serve Him.  But the man couldn’t do it.

We read that the rich young man walked away sad.  That puzzles me.  What could have been so precious that he wouldn’t give it up to be with Jesus?  After all, he was giving up so many other things for God.  Why not this last straw?

The question becomes profound when I put myself in the young man’s shoes.

I can think of a few habits in my life where I do the same thing.  These habits, loyalties and choices keep me from Jesus.  Like the rich young ruler I too grow sad when I say yes to them instead of Jesus.  But, I’m entangled with these counterfeit gods.  I live for their quick fixes and their false protection.

Once again I find myself living for the “x” and choose to sidestep the work or sacrifice that a life lived for eternity might bring.

Take a moment to consider what question you would not want Jesus to ask you.

What do you fear He would require from you?

Talk with God about the habits, beliefs and choices that are keeping you from Him.

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