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What Are We Holding Back?

I was asking myself this question as I read the story in the gospel of Mark chapter 10 about a man who came to Jesus asking what he needed to do to be saved. Here is the story:

Mark 10:17-27

Now as Jesus was starting out on his way, someone ran up to him, fell on his knees, and said, “Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone. You know the commandments: ‘Do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not give false testimony, do not defraud, honor your father and mother.’” The man said to him, “Teacher, I have wholeheartedly obeyed all these laws since my youth.” As Jesus looked at him, he felt love for him and said, “You lack one thing. Go, sell whatever you have and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” But at this statement, the man looked sad and went away sorrowful, for he was very rich.

Then Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God!” The disciples were astonished at these words. But again Jesus said to them, “Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.” They were even more astonished and said to one another, “Then who can be saved?” Jesus looked at them and replied, “This is impossible for mere humans, but not for God; all things are possible for God.”

So what struck me was this: this guy had the knowledge down and he even walked the walk. He knew the laws and he kept them, but something was missing; His whole heart. He could not step beyond a certain point. He had a line drawn in the sand as to how far he would go for his faith. He eagerly ran up and threw himself before Jesus, but when confronted by truth of what was holding him back, he could not let go. So, he went away in sadness. While this story is often used to illustrate how we deal with our money, it is not limited to that. This story applies equally to how tightly we hold to anything; our time, our energy, our space. So what is it that you are holding onto or even withholding?

For me it becomes apparent when I look at what stirs my emotions. When I examine the things that frustrate me, or cause me to feel hurt. Often those things are places I am unwilling to bring before Jesus, to let him be Lord. The other thing is that sometimes it doesn't even require to physically let go, but rather spiritually let go. To acknowledge that what I have is a gift and is given to me, and as such I need to not lay claim to it as mine. This is where we will see God move, this is where we cross the line from what we are able to do and see the impossible things that God can do.

As you think about this story remember one other thing that is often overlooked. In verse 21 "As Jesus looked at him, he felt love for him". Jesus didn't say this to condemn him or judge him (as I have often thought before), but rather he was showing him the way and showing him what was blocking his path. So remember that as you go about your life, Jesus looks upon you with love and he seeks to remove those things that stand in the way of you really knowing him, really experiencing his power, and seeing impossible things become reality. I pray this week that you can know that Jesus is for you and not against you and that through him you can experience life to the fullest.

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