In Mark 10:17-31, there is a story of a rich young man who asked Jesus what he needed to do to have eternal life. Christ replied by saying, "You know the commandments: don't murder, don't commit adultery, don't steal, don't lie, don't cheat, honor your father & mother." The young man looked back at Jesus & told him that he had kept all of the commandments since his childhood. This next part is what jumps out at me: Jesus looks him hard in the eye & loves him (see verse21). He looks at where this man is & loves him exactly as he is--no strings attached. BUT, then Christ challenges him. "There's one thing left: go sell whatever you own & give it to the poor. All your wealth will then be heavenly wealth. And come follow me." The man, knowing that what Christ was asking him to do required sacrifice & quite a bit of growing pains, sadly walked away defeated and discouraged.
Christ's disciples watched this whole scene play out & later questioned Jesus about who even had a chance of getting into Heaven. Christ looked them all in they eye and said "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." Wow. Talk about being blunt. Jesus isn't here to politely offer chatty little advice about what movie to go see on the weekend. Christ came to die--literally die--for you & me so that we could spend eternity with Him. While he was on earth, he stretched his disciples and the people around him. The young man in Mark 10 was discouraged because he knew that there was no possible way that he could attain eternal life on his own strength, yet he was too proud to yield to the strength of the One who created his very being. Ouch. Kinda sounds like me.
I'm just a broken-down Jesus girl. There are so many times when I can relate to this young man. I come to Christ asking Him what I can do to grow and truly thrive in His presence & when He gives me an answer, I can get discouraged because I know that what He is asking me to do will require lots of growing pains & sacrifice. The thing is, Christ never said following Him would be easy. He tells us to pick up our cross & follow Him (See Mark 8:34-36). Picking up my cross means dying to me...dying to my wants, desires, ambitions, plans, ideas, opinions, and dreams. It means embracing Christ & allowing Him to fully change me--radically, inside and out!
One of the things about Christ that just still leaves me speechless is that He loves me. He loves me that much. He would rather die than live without me. Why don't I live like I truly believe that? Why do I allow the petty imperfections of this world to mar my view of Christ and how He made me? Why do I get so caught up in what others think that I completely tune out what the Creator of the universe whispers in my ear? Because I am embracing my opinions rather than living in obedience to Christ.
"For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments & every pretention that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, &n we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ." 2 Corinthians 10:3-5Like Jesus told his disciples in Mark 10, we do have a chance if we allow God to take over. How can I move from being in awe of Christ's love for me to truly letting it take over my entire life? By moving from my opinions to obedience to Him. How do I do this? By taking every thought captive. 2 Corinthians clearly states that Christ's power in us has the divine power to demolish strongholds on our lives. Talk about power! Christ in me can change the world...starting with me, a broken-down Jesus girl. The cool thing....that's exactly where Christ wants me to be; because, when I come to Him broken, He can begin to stretch me & that is where I can choose to take every opinionated thought of mine captive and respond in obedience to His calling on my life.
Lord, make me the woman you want me to be.
(Photo courtesy of Megan Mercier)