Since Babel, man has continued to attempt to reach heaven on his own. Everyone wants to be in control of his destiny, but the way to salvation is the opposite—we are to give up all control and let Jesus lead us.
Read Matthew 19:16-30. In this passage, we see the rich young ruler ask Jesus, "Teacher, what good thing must I do to get eternal life?" (Matthew 19:16). Jesus begins to recite the commandments, to which the young ruler responds, "All these I have kept, . . . What do I still lack?" (Matthew 19:20).
Everyone wants to be in control of his destiny, but the way to salvation is the opposite.
Although he had power, money, and success, the rich young ruler still wanted more. Jesus made it clear to him that eternity was not just another measure of success to add to his resume because, if he really wanted to experience eternity, he actually had to be willing to leave behind everything he had worked so hard to obtain.
Jesus was pointing out that while he upheld the law externally, he had not humbled himself and surrendered everything to God. His pride was in his wealth, and his earthly riches were keeping him from receiving true spiritual riches.
What are you unwilling to leave behind for the sake of Christ? Is there anything keeping you from complete obedience? Is there anything keeping you from humbling yourself in repentance and receiving His forgiveness and the gift of eternal life? Deep down, it may not be wealth, but we know what our idol is. We know it because we are holding onto it so tightly that it cannot escape our grip unless we willingly surrender it to Christ.
Upon learning that he had to give everything up to follow Jesus, the rich young ruler left sad because he was not prepared to release his grip on his other treasures. We can only hope that he changed his mind in the end.
The Good News is that our heavenly Father is our example. He gave up the thing that meant most to Him: His Son. Jesus also humbled Himself. He could have lived a life of infinite power on earth, but He instead chose death on a cross so we could know Him.
Prayer: Lord, help me understand the infinite worth of life in Christ so that I do not cling to lesser idols. I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.
"I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things" (Philippians 3:8).
Learn more in Dr. Michael Youssef's sermon Encountering Christ, Part 4: LISTEN NOW