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Topic: Promises (02/09/04)
TITLE: Letting Go
By Allen Clupny
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The thing that strikes me is that this young man knelt before Jesus? I've heard some say he was full of pride. It doesn’t seem like he was, at least not of his possessions. I believe instead, he hoped in them and found emptiness, but loved them still. Think of the wife who loves an abusive husband or someone who has an addiction. I don't defend the behavior, just addressing the perspective.
Verse 22 states that he walked away from Jesus sorrowful. I think if pride were the issue he would have left indignant or angry. Maybe they came later, but I don't think so. Maybe he grappled with impending loss. He may have realized the cost of discipleship; of dying to oneself. Sometimes it takes people some time to come around; to realize their condition.
Isaiah said "Come let us reason together…" It is a wise man who has "…counted the cost." God doesn't ask us to believe just to believe. He validates a belief in Himself. But we have the choice of our will over His. It's just that when we choose to separate ourselves from God in this life, we choose to separate ourselves from Him in the next; again, an act of our will.
I think each of us loves our will and we need to learn to freely give it up. It's not easy. Sometimes it's pride; sometimes fear; sometimes, like the addict we can’t let go even when we're out of control. It's their hope.
I have found that I hope in having a will. It gives me choice. Choice gives me control. Control gives me hope. I have found it difficult to give up my will. When I am asked by God to do so, I feel sorrow. Even when I know it is for the best. And it is always for my best.
The young ruler may have felt that way. No one really knows. But I think we can take 1 Corinthians 10:13 to heart, "No temptation has overcome you but that which is common among men." We all struggle and we're not alone in that struggle. The struggle with giving up ‘self’ is not easy and it should be reasoned out with God through the promises in His word.
David said in Psalm 119:59 "I thought about my ways, and turned my feet to your testimonies." There is nothing wrong with not blindly accepting things people tell you. The young ruler spoken of thought about what Jesus said and “…he walked away sorrowful,” He thought about it. He thought about the promise of things, instead of the things God promised.