Thursday, April 14, 2005

True Love

Most of us are familiar with the story of the rich young ruler who comes to Jesus asking for instruction regarding the obtaining of eternal life. He had fulfilled all the outward commands. What more should be done? And we see here Jesus' response to him:

Mark 10.21 Then Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, "One thing you lack: Go your way, sell whatever you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, take up the cross, and follow Me."

Jesus looked at him and loved him. Have you ever had someone look at you with eyes of love? Can you imagine the tender warmth in Jesus eyes as He looked upon this young man? How wonderful and complete is His love for us. It was for this young man as well.

And yet we find that love does not equate with a comforting answer. We, in our frailty, would be tempted to show love for others by placing easy requirements, watered down demands, and lesser expectations on them. This is not Christ’s way. With fullness of love toward this young man, He puts him to the test. Jesus’ words cut to the heart of the matter. His saying will separate the men from the boys.

We would be reticent to put it to him so hard. After all, we may lose this person’s heart. But who should we be more concerned about – the rich young man or ourselves?

You see, this young man needed to discover the truth about himself. Love always seeks truth. He needed to come to terms with reality. And the hard reality was this: “One thing you lack...“

In the story of Mary and Martha, Mary has discovered that “…one thing is needed…” and she has chosen that one thing. This rich young ruler is being challenged to choose that one thing as well: an undivided love for God and a corresponding letting go of all else. He must sell whatever he has that would tie him to this world. Paul says that “[I]...suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ.”

With the truest of all love, Jesus calls this young man, and now calls us, to "take up your cross". Give up all that divides your heart. Lay down those things that would hinder your following His voice. Let go of that thing that is dearer to you than Him. This is sincere discipleship.

The call to true discipleship is one of love in that it is the way to eternal life. Without taking up the cross, submitting to our own death and receiving His life, there is no hope of eternity with Him.

The rich young ruler was looking to obtain eternal life. Jesus, in great love, gives him the answer. It is a hard answer, and the young man leaves with deep sorrow of heart. He now knows - the cost will be great.

But, oh, the reward is eternity in His presence.


Blogger Kathleen Moulton said...

I'm thinking about the times, too, when Jesus said, "Go and sin no more."

How often I've back off, bent the rules, "watered it down"; fearful to offend or look bad. That wouldn't be real love.

Great thoughts.

7:14 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ouch. Have you been a fly in my home lately? I'm growing through faithful friends who understand the concept of wounding in truth is very necessary at times.

5:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In the last four years I have become friends with others whose hearts' desire is to truly know & follow Jesus. It has been good, but hard! Learning to speak truth in love OR speak love with truth is an important part of real fellowship. I was one just a few years back with lots of "love," but it held little truth - it wasn't love at all. God FAITHFULLY surrounded me with "truth speakers" to show me how to stand firmly in the Word. At the same time, they became more "loving" in their truth-speaking. He is sooo rich and good to us!

11:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

thanks for the encouragement Mrs. Sinclair,, I really need it!!

5:59 PM  
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3:54 AM  

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