“But he was sad at this word, and went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.” Mark 10:22
Yesterday, we talked about how the rich young ruler was asking the right question of the right person. But here’s the thing, asking the right questions is only the first half, and one could even argue, the least important half, of the process. The second, and more important part, is the part where you respond when your questions are answered.
Jesus, as he answers the rich young ruler’s question about what he needed to do to inherit eternal life, leads him to the realization that, while he had thought he was doing such a good job keeping God’s law, he’d been making his achievements and possessions into idols in his life.
What the rich young ruler learned that day was that obedience was more than right or wrong actions. Obedience is often a state of mind as well. What is the hearts relationship with what you have? Is it competing with the relationship God’s trying to have with you?
The first commandment of the Ten Commandments is, “You shall have no other gods before Me.” Exodus 20:3. This means that God is first and everything else is not.
It would seem to be a very selfish demand of God, to command us to make him first, if it weren’t for the fact that God always puts you first in his life. This reality is demonstrated by the fact that God created us even though he knew we’d rebel against him. Furthermore, after our rebellion, he’s worked to save us, giving the beloved Son to die for our sins, so that we could have a chance to choose him again.
The rich young ruler realized, from Jesus’ answer to his question, that Jesus was right about his heart. He wanted his possessions and his achievements more than he wanted God to be God in his life. That young man wasn’t ready to choose God that day. He chose his possessions and he went away sad. Refusing God never makes the heart happy.
Lord Jesus, help us to always choose you over the things we have in our lives.