April 23, 2023 ~ Matthew 19:16-30
"With God, all things are possible." You can buy keychains, wall hangings, desk plaques, mugs, hats, and more with this scripture. Considering how Jesus used this phrase, we are cautioned to use it to guarantee success for our dreams and desires. To better understand this phrase, we must go to Matthew 19.
Matthew 19:16-30 is the story of the rich young ruler who asked Jesus. "What good thing must I do to get eternal life?" Jesus told him to keep the commandments. The young man asked which ones must be kept. Jesus offered a list of commandments, and the young man said he observed them all. And then, he asked a very pointed question: "What do I still lack?" This is an interesting question.
What do I still lack? Despite his moral goodness and the blessedness of wealth, the rich young man did not have peace with God. He wanted to ensure he achieved all of the requirements for eternal life. This concern echoes in the minds of Christians throughout the ages, and perhaps even yours.
Jesus knows what we lack; it is an undivided heart toward God. He told the rich young ruler, "If you want to be perfect, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me." Jesus knows our hearts. He knows that our hearts are devoted to things and people above God. Jesus says that if we want to be perfect, we must release our grip on anything that holds us back from following him, including our brothers or sisters, fathers or mothers, spouses or children, our work in the fields or possessions, and confidence in our good works.
If you want to be sure of eternal life, follow Jesus with an undivided heart. Sadly, the rich young ruler walked away from Jesus, but he had another option. He could have thrown himself upon the mercy of Jesus and said, "Lord, I can't do this! I confess my divided heart. With me, this is impossible, but with God, all things are possible. Help me, Lord, to follow you." Instead, the rich young ruler preferred to be in control of his relationship with God according to his own terms and conditions. He loved the things of earth more than his stated desire for eternal life.
With God, all things are possible. If you profess to follow Jesus, do not follow him casually. Follow him into the life he has prepared for you in advance (Eph 2:10). Stay near him in a posture of humility, submission, and trust. And should you trip and fall into sin, get up, run to him, confess your sin, and profess your need for him to do the impossible in your life.
And if you have a keychain, a mug, a desk plaque or anything else that says, "With God, all things are possible," remember that his phrase applies to salvation. If you know someone who needs Jesus, pray for them, get into their lives and bring Jesus' love and presence with you. Let them know that you will be there for them if they need anything. And as for sharing the hope of Christ in you, the Spirit will prompt you to share your faith when the time is right. Follow Jesus when he knocks on the door of an unbeliever’s heart. (Rev 3:20) In doing this, you will see perfection in action and know that Jesus' promise of eternal life is sure.