Journal Entry // February 27, 2021
And Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, “You lack one thing: go, sell all that you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” Disheartened by the saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.Mark 10:21-22 ESV
This encounter with Jesus has always been one of the most fascinating for me to read and reflect upon over the years. Each and every year, when I come to this story, I feel as though I have a different reaction. I typically see myself in this story and the story itself always illicits a response of some sort within me. This time it is deeply troubling to me.
Like this young man, I too have great possessions in this world. Maybe not so much in the financial sense, but even there I am not lacking. No, my possessions have always been my mental understanding. God has gifted me with the ability to understand, comprehend, and apply solutions. I have always thought of it as knowledge and wisdom. Knowledge being the ability to take it in and wisdom being the ability to apply to a specific situation. This, in my eyes at least, has always been one of my sources of joy in the Lord. A gift that I know only comes from the Lord.
But in this last year, the Lord has revealed to me the ease with which this gift can corrupt my heart when I let pride and arrogance creep into the equation. I had a blind spot in my life previously that slowly and inevitably allowed sin to grow in my heart to a point where corrective measures by the Lord had to be taken. While I do believe there was a blind spot, I think it gives the wrong impression that I was unaware. True, I was unaware of the depth and insidious hold that held me but I was not unaware of my spiritual dilemma.
I feel like this story is my story in way. Like the young man, I too thought that I was doing enough. I was outwardly ticking all the boxes that garnered praise from the Christian world. I had a life that was enviable from the perspective of a follower of Christ. God had truly blessed me. And I used all these blessings and my gifts to convince myself that everything was good and wonderful. But like the young man, I knew there was something missing. And like the young man, I asked Jesus.
I asked him why I was not happy. I wanted to understand why I felt no joy. I had everything my heart determined was important, but joy eluded me. So, I asked repeatedly for the Lord to bring joy into my heart. His response to me was basically the same as to the young man. I lacked one thing… Give it all up and follow Christ. This I wanted to do, but was unable. I was unable or maybe unwilling to give over everything. Not just the physical resources and gifts. Though my pride and arrogance fought against this. But I found it intrinsically difficult to give up my mind.
This was my blind spot. The very gifts that set me apart for the work of Christ were the very things that I used to justify my double mindedness. And this double mindedness set up and empowered the blind spot. But praise the Lord… He did not let me walk away like the young man in the story. He had compassion on me. He showed me mercy and grace. I wanted and asked for joy, so Christ brought it by doing the one thing I refused. He took it all away.
He stripped me of all the clothing I had put on to cover my sin and shame. He exposed me. He exposed me to the watching world. He allowed me to glimpse and taste the consequences of sin. This is what I needed. The one thing I was lacking. The understanding that sin held a portion of my heart and I was not willing to give it over to Jesus. But he laid all that open and removed the blind spot completely. There is now no misunderstanding about the nature of my heart and the darkness that resides there.
Yes, there is still darkness there. But the light of Christ is continuing to shine forth into the crevices of my heart. Together, we are battling to see this darkness dispelled. It is hard and humbling and frustrating. I wish he had just completely rid my heart of sin, but I know that I need this battle. I need humility in my life. I need to feel and understand my dependence upon the Lord. I need to fight to speak truth in my heart. To take my sin, the whole not the part, to the cross of Christ.
It is difficult. It is tiring. It is humbling. It is all this, but it is a joy. Jesus is so patient and kind to me. He is teaching me to be patient and kind to myself. Satan wants to dominate me. Jesus loves me. The world wants to see me broken. Jesus heals me. My flesh wants to drag me away. Jesus is my Rock. Jesus has been so amazing and so kind to me. He loves me and will not forsake me. He is transforming me. He is my strength. In him…. I can praise the Lord!