The Devotion to Christ – We must meet Jesus on His terms

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By Brian Cook

In Mark 10:17-31, we read of The Rich Young Ruler. If we look closely at this story, Jesus is saying to the young man what he said to Peter, James, John, Andrew, Phillip, Paul, Matthias, Stephen, etc. Jesus is offering a discipleship under the very tutelage of Christ!

The young ruler is invited to be a part of the 70 disciples of Jesus (Luke 10:1; not to be confused with the Twelve Apostles). This young man had been practicing His faith from childhood and was already disciplined and religious. What could possibly keep him from accepting this the greatest of all invitations?

There are only a few “god level” things in this world, things that have the power to overwhelm our flesh into false worship and completely blind us to reality and consequences, such as addiction, power, lust, and money. We know that “The love of money is the root of all kinds of evil” (1 Timothy 6:10). To get a real God, we have to give up our false ones.

What was the young ruler’s reaction? “How dare He ask for that! Surely, He does not mean what He said! Doesn’t He know who I am? Doesn’t He know how hard I’ve worked to get this? Does He want me to starve? Why would I give it to the poor? Let them work! I’m not throwing away my money! What do you mean by “have less, do not store up treasure and give?’ That’s backwards isn’t it?”

Yes, it is.

Notice that Jesus did not ask for the young man’s money. Rather, Jesus commanded him to give the money to the poor. Contrast that to modern-day false preachers. Jesus earns the right to be heard. He always stands opposite our gods. Jesus wants us, but it is not a “want” that comes from a place of need. We want Him, and it does come from a place of need. But if our want for Jesus does not outweigh our want of other things, we get not the God we long for and are left only with the gods we wanted more. Thus, we see in the rich young ruler a “want” that did not measure up to worship. It stopped short of surrender and was too small to be called salvation.

Let this be a warning to us! In our time, we are able to have everything our flesh could want and top it off with Cultural Christianity (what I call “Churchianity”). We have been allowed this because it is culturally acceptable to ignore Jesus’ words and still call ourselves a Christian despite having never met Christ on His terms.

Jesus’ call for our strength is a call for our whole life (Matthew16:25). Yet many of us come to Christ in exactly the same way as the rich young ruler. We have everything we want, or assume we are supposed to, and we just come to Him to lock up eternal life, to feel better about ourselves or to be “respectable.” We may be surprised when we are told on the Last Day, “Depart from Me, I never knew you.” Just as the rich young ruler went away sad, will we do the same?

Do not miss the potent phrase of, “Jesus looked at him and loved him.” This is how it happens – for Saint Photini (the woman at the well), for the Canaanite wo-man, for the Twelve, for Nicodemus, for the rich young ruler, and for you and me. This is the test: Jesus looks at each of us and sees our deepest need. He also sees our gods and knows exactly how to free us. And He and only He loves us enough to single out our gods and demand us to choose. Our parents may overlook our sin, our siblings may look around our idols, our spouse may try not to see our false gods, our children may mimic our worship of fleshly things and our pastors may speak in terms that do not convict – all proving that they cannot fully love us as only Jesus can. But He presses in, for He and only He is our Savior, our “Lord and our God” (John 20:28).

Think on these things, beloved, as we conclude in the next article.

Brian Cook is a Cropwell native and a graduate of Pell City High School, Gadsden State Community College and studied music and history at Jacksonville State. He and his wife Hope have five children. A self-described “on-again-off-again bi-vocational part-time” Protestant minister for almost 20 years, Brian converted to Catholicism in April 2021. They attend Saint James Catholic Church in Gadsden. With no formal training (Acts 4:13), Brian active in the Catechetical training of children and adults. His book “The Devotion to Christ” can be found on Amazon. He is available for speaking and teaching engagements in any parish, church, or group setting. He may be contacted at thedtc@protonmail.com or thedevotiontochrist@gmail.com.

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