The Word For Today

Learning from the ruler 2

'All these things I have kept from my youth.' Luke 18:21 NKJV

The rich young ruler may rank as one of the most religious people in Scripture. He kept all the commandments. But you can do nothing wrong, and still do nothing right. By definition, righteousness is doing something right. But we've reduced it to doing nothing wrong. We fixate on sins of commission: don't do this, don't do that - and you're okay. But that is holiness by subtraction. It's your sins of omission - what you would have, could have, and should have done - that break the heart of your heavenly Father. If you're a parent, you understand this. You love it when your kids don't do something wrong, but you love it even more when they do something right.

You have been saved to serve! Paul says God 'created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us' (Ephesians 2:10 NLT). God has a personal plan for your life called 'His Will'. But you can't just play defence, you have to play offence. You can't just do nothing wrong, you have to do something right. You can't just follow the rules, you've been called to follow Jesus. If you feel bad for the rich young ruler it shouldn't be because of what Jesus asked him to give up, but because of the opportunity he passed up. Imagine saying no to a three-year internship with your Creator! What Jesus asked him to give up was nothing compared to what Jesus offered him in return. Sadly, he said no. But you can say yes, and begin living the most wonderful life possible.

Soulfood: Jn 4:4-26 Jn 7:37-41 Exo 17:1-7 Isa 35:1-7,


Learning from the ruler 1

'You still lack one thing.' Luke 18:22 NKJV

Luke records: 'A certain ruler asked him, saying, "Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?" So Jesus said to him... "You know the commandments: 'Do not commit adultery,' 'Do not murder,' 'Do not steal,' 'Do not bear false witness,' 'Honour your father and your mother.'" And he said, "All these things I have kept from my youth." So when Jesus heard these things, he said to him, "You still lack one thing. Sell all that you have and distribute to the poor, and you will have treasure in Heaven; and come, follow me." But when he heard this, he became very sorrowful, for he was very rich' (Luke 18:18-23 NKJV).

This ruler had two problems, and Jesus put his finger on each. First, he discovered that keeping a bunch of religious rules cannot fill the emptiness in your soul; only a relationship with Christ can do that. Second, he discovered that he didn't just own riches, his riches owned him and kept him from following Christ. He had so much potential. He could have leveraged his resources, his network and his energy for Kingdom causes, but he wanted to keep it all for himself. And the Bible captions his life in four words: 'He became very sorrowful.'

Here's the score. The rich young ruler eventually became the rich old ruler. Until the day he died he'd remember the words of Jesus: 'Come, follow me.' And Jesus makes the same offer to you. If you say no, you'll regret it at the end of your life. If you say yes, you'll be rewarded with joy and a level of blessing you never knew was possible.

Soulfood: 2 Chr 1-4 Lk 14:15-24 Ps 119:73-80 Pro 21:14-16,


You are irreversibly blessed

'He has blessed, and I cannot reverse it.' Numbers 23:20 NKJV

The Israelites conquered the Promised Land and took possession of it, one town and one city at a time. As they approached Moab, one of its princes named Balak hired a prophet named Balaam to pronounce a curse upon the advancing Israeli armies. Standing on a mountain overlooking the camp of Israel, Balak expected curses to come pouring out of Balaam's mouth. But instead, came blessings. When he asked Balaam why, he replied: 'I have received a command to bless; he has blessed, and I cannot reverse it. He has not observed iniquity in Jacob, nor has he seen wickedness in Israel. The Lord his God is with him' (Numbers 23:20-21 NKJV). Was that because there was no 'iniquity' or 'wickedness' among the Israelites? No. Then how could God not see it? For the same reason he doesn't see your faults and failings - because he has chosen to see you 'in Christ' who is perfect, and whose atoning blood covers all your sins from the new birth to the new Jerusalem.

When the Israelites set up camp each night, their tents formed the shape of a big cross; picture the tents of eight tribes running vertically, and four tribes running horizontally. Getting the picture? As a redeemed child of God, that's how your heavenly Father sees you. He looks at you - through the cross. And since the blood of Jesus paid for every sin you would ever commit, God sees you as 'accepted' and 'righteous' and 'complete'.

So the word for you today is: because God sees you in Christ, you are irreversibly blessed.

Soulfood: 1 Chr 26:20-29:30 Lk 14:1-14 Ps 119:65-72 Pro 21:10-13,

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