It wasn't long ago that we looked at the concept of casting away stones and how we are to give forth that which God has given us. Today, we look at another concept of casting away. This time we are throwing things off and behind.
There are times in life when God calls us to a greater purpose or a deeper walk. In order to accomplish this walk we will have to take on challenges and add certain things to our lives. However, we will also have to get rid of some things if we are to truly be used by God. The things God asks us to cast away may not be bad things in and of themselves, but their presence in our lives will hinder our growth in God. The story of the rich young ruler teaches us something of the idea of casting away.
Good Intentions Go Only So Far
In Mark 10, a young wealthy man came up to Jesus and inquired of him what he should do to be saved. (v. 17). This is a great start. He is exhibiting both passion and persistence for God with the way he pursues God and what he does when He finds Him. Jesus likes what He sees and asks him if he has done some of the commandments to which the young man affirms that he has made them his lifestyle (v19-20). This is even better. He's already living a good lifestyle and doing the right things. Jesus was excited for him and offered Him the one thing he was missing: To make a sacrifice in His life that would put God first (v. 21). The rich young man couldn't do it (v.22). He had accomplished a lot of good in his young life but he had missed out on one important thing: He hadn't put God first in His life.
Noise and Negation
A lot of us are doing the right thing with how we live our lives and love the Christian lifestyle we've been given. We don't hurt others, we show up to church, we don't make any kind of graven image like a pagan would, and we certainly don't take the Lord's Name in vain. However, we miss out on the very first commandment by putting things in front of the calling that Christ has put in our lives. We allow possessions, people, and practices (even ministries) get in the way of us developing our relationship according to God's will for our lives.
When we find ourselves surrounded by things, activities and relationships so much that we lose that still small voice that leads us to God, we need to consider evacuating some stuff from our lives. Even more, when God clearly calls us, like he did with the rich young ruler, to give up something so we can pursue him further spiritually and sacrificially; avoidance isn't an option. If we do avoid His calling, we'll end up sorrowful as though something within us has died.
Cast It Off
For as disappointing as the rich young ruler's response to Christ was, his actions leading up to that response give us a template for how to progress our lives in Christ. We must keep our focus on God and pursue Him passionately as the rich young ruler did at first. We need to listen to God as He instructs us and affirm those things God has asked us to do when we have done them. When we do this, God will give us a specific word or direction for what we should do next. Finally, when Christ offers us a challenge to draw nearer to Him, we cannot balk at the opportunity to do so. More often than not, Christ's challenge will be specific and directed at our greater purpose. Our answer to this challenge will be the difference between becoming a sorrowful soul and standing tall as one of Christ's saints.
Chris Farris is the author of The Way, a manual detailing how to implement the Beatitudes into your life. He review events and other media and offers other insights into writing and working for the Kingdom of God.