“Jesus answered, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions, and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”
Matthew 19:21 NIV
From our anchor scripture, one might wonder why Jesus would be so extreme. He says to the man that if you want to be perfect, get rid of everything that you have and give it away.
Jesus understood that riches had a hold of this man’s heart. This man’s heart was devoted to riches other than God. The man might have thought that he was devoted because he kept the commandments (which he probably really didn’t keep), but Jesus was pointing out that he was not truly devoted to God because he had other priorities in his life.
In verse 22, he went away grieving. The man wasn’t grieving simply because he had a lot of possessions. He was grieving because he was not willing to part with his possessions. You see, the man wanted to be good, he wanted to be perfect, he wanted to be complete, he wanted to gain eternal life, but he also wanted to hold onto his possessions.
This story implies that the man wanted to hang on to his possessions so much that he was willing to give up his pursuit of eternal life. Matthew 6:24 explicitly tells us that we can’t serve two masters. It would be an oxymoron.
Part of you wants to jump into the story and tell the man, “Wait, you don’t really have to try and be perfect. Jesus did it for you! Follow Jesus! He can help you! He can save you! He can be your righteousness!” However, Jesus knew the heart of the man. The reality of the situation is that Jesus knew that if the man wasn’t willing to give up his possessions for the pursuit of righteousness, he certainly wouldn’t give them up for his pursuit of Jesus.
We must catch this. Jesus wants all of our devotion, and He is worthy of all of our devotion. When we have Him, we have everything! The man was not willing to follow the Lord if that meant he must give up his wealth. He loved himself (and his money) more. Far from keeping “all” the commandments, as he had claimed.
Hence, what are you strongly holding unto? Unforgiveness? Your past? Your regrets? Your phone? Money? Let them go today! Let go of anything competing with God in your heart and follow Him.
DO THIS: List out things you are firmly holding onto and are competing with your devotion to God. List out steps on how you intend on letting go. Be diligent and follow these steps consciously.
Bible Reading Plan:
John 15:18-27, Revelation 3:14-22, Job 29, Joel 1