wrestling with conviction

by Mary Stout

A rich man came to Jesus and knelt at his feet and asked what must he do to be saved. Jesus told him, “You know the commandments: Don’t commit murder. Don’t commit adultery. Don’t steal. Don’t give false testimony. Don’t cheat. Honor your father and mother” (Mark 10:19 CEB).

The young man told Jesus he kept those commandments all his life. What we find in the next sentence is amazing.

“Then Jesus beholding him loved him.”  What does that mean? To behold someone is to look at them as remarkable or impressive. So Jesus was clearly impressed with this man and genuinely loved him.

That’s when it happened.

Jesus looked at him carefully and loved him. He said, “You are lacking one thing. Go, sell what you own, and give the money to the poor. Then you will have treasure in heaven. And come, follow me.” (Mark 10:21 CEB)

Jesus challenged the man to let go of everything. I am sure it wasn’t what the young man expected. As a matter of fact, scripture says the young man went away dismayed and saddened. All he had ever known was his possessions and riches. It must have hurt to think about it.

The sting of conviction can change our lives. Many times we don’t like what we hear and we go away just as the rich man did — disappointed and saddened. Still, the Lord loves us deeply enough to challenge us to give all our life to him .

We wonder why it seems so hard to lay down our thoughts, our deeds, and our lives down, take up the cross and follow him. Jesus knows how hard it is. He tells us, “It’s easier for a camel to squeeze through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter God’s kingdom.” (Mark 10:25 CEB)

The rich man parable convicts us to surrender ourselves to the Lord and follow him. It’s a challenge we are faced with each day as we take daily action to live as Christ did. Jesus tells the disciples that it’s hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. That set the disciples back on their heels. “Then who has any chance at all?” they asked. Jesus was blunt: “No chance at all if you think you can pull it off by yourself. Every chance in the world if you let God do it.” (Mark 10:26-27 MSG)

Jesus knows how hard it is. He had to make that decision as he prayed and told the Father not my will, but yours be done. As he prayed, was he beholding us and loving us anyway? How deep of a love he has for us that he would choose to save us?

The conviction you feel may be overwhelming. You might even be resisting and turning away as the rich man did. They say if you think you can, you will. If you think you can’t, you won’t. The good news is you don’t have to do it alone. You weren’t meant to. You can’t do it alone. However, you have every chance in the world to let go and let God.

Prayer: Living and loving Father thank you for giving us an example of how to surrender ourselves to you. Help us to choose your will each day as we go about your business. Help us reflect the light of the world as we go about our day. In Jesus name, Amen

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