“All these things I have kept from my youth.” Lk 18:21 NKJV
The rich young ruler may rank as one of the most religious people in Scripture. He kept all the commandments. But you can do nothing wrong, and still do nothing right. By definition, righteousness is doing something right. But we’ve reduced it to doing nothing wrong. We fixate on sins of commission: Don’t do this, don’t do that—and you’re okay. But that is holiness by subtraction. It’s your sins of omission—what you would have, could have, and should have done—that break the heart of your heavenly Father. If you’re a parent, you understand this. You love it when your kids don’t do something wrong, but you love it even more when they do something right. You have been saved to serve! Paul says God “created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us” (Eph 2:10 NLT). God has a personal plan for your life called “His Will.” But you can’t just play defense, you have to play offense. You can’t just do nothing wrong, you have to do something right. You can’t just follow the rules, you’ve been called to follow Jesus. If you feel bad for the rich young ruler it shouldn’t be because of what Jesus asked him to give up, but because of the opportunity he passed up. Imagine saying no to a three-year internship with your Creator! What Jesus asked him to give up was nothing compared to what Jesus offered him in return. Sadly, he said no. But you can say yes, and begin living the most wonderful life possible.
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