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Wednesday, September 09, 2009

The Rich Young Ruler

Mary Kay writes:

I read the story of the rich young ruler (Luke 18:18-30) today for the gazillionth time. This story is so precious to me because of its role in my faith journey. In 1997, I was at a point in my life where I had put just about everything ahead of God in priority – my young family, my career, my marriage, volunteering in the community. It wasn’t that I rejected God, I just was too busy for Him. On a retreat weekend, I remember praying over and over that God would reveal to me what I had to give up in order to truly follow Him, and that I would have the courage to do it and not turn my back and walk away in sadness.

What God revealed to me then was that the biggest obstacle for me was … ME. I wanted to be in charge and control things, which meant I didn’t allow room for God to be God and to take control of my life. That weekend led to a deepening of my faith and my walk with God became much more intentional as I gave authority over my life to Christ.

What this story doesn’t tell us is that it is not a one-time decision. The ruler could have given everything up at that time to follow Christ. But what would he have done when a relative died leaving him another fortune? At that point would he have been tempted to think that he had been sacrificing so much and this was God’s way of rewarding him? Would wealth and possessions start creeping in to take over his life again?

I find I am continually faced with this struggle. I give control to Christ in some areas of my life, but not all. Or I cede control, only to snatch it back again, like a disputed territory in a border war. It is too easy to point to being a missionary in Africa as evidence of how I have turned over everything to Christ, and then to start to believe it. But it is also too easy to revert to thinking that I am the one doing good things, or it is my ministry here in Ghana rather than God’s. LORD, once again, I pray, “Don’t let me walk away sad.”

“Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,” says the LORD Almighty. (Zechariah 4:6, NIV)

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