Have you ever sensed you have built a wall around your heart? If we are honest, most of us recognize that we have done so at one time or another. This is simply one of many fallouts from living in a sin-cursed world. Some of us may use bricks of callous emotions; for others, the bricks may be power and position, but for the rich young ruler in chapter 10 of Mark’s gospel, the wall was built from bricks of money and possessions.
The man comes to visit Jesus, at first appearing to humbly seek the way of eternal life. However, it quickly becomes apparent that his real aim is to use this encounter to self-proclaim his righteous standing before God as a result of his faithfulness to God’s commandments. But Jesus knew something was holding the man back from experiencing true freedom and a real encounter with God. Verse 21 says, “Jesus looked at him and loved him.” (NIV) Jesus knew what stood in the way and said to him, “One thing you lack. Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” (NIV)
The man came to Jesus expecting affirmation of his goodness, which he sought in order to justify himself and return to the life he already enjoyed. Instead, he was confronted with the truth and invited to walk into a glorious new life with God through Christ. However, even while standing face-to-face with the Son of God Himself, the young man decided in his heart that what Jesus had to offer could not possibly be more valuable than what he already possessed. As a result, instead of finding freedom in Christ, the man chose to remain a slave to his possessions, clinging to his false hopes and false security. (See Mark 10:17-31)
How about you? Are you clinging to something that might be preventing you from following Jesus with your whole heart? If so, what is holding you back? Take a few moments and ask God to reveal to you what might be holding you back. What (or who) have you become a slave to? What are you afraid to let go of? Fill in the blank space that follows with what God has shown you must do:
“Go, [tear down your brick wall] then come, follow me.”
The moment we surrender that which is holding us back, He invites us to move forward to follow Him. Praise God that the moment we embrace the freedom Christ offers, we are no longer imprisoned by walls of fears and false security built by our own hands!
“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” (Galatians 5:1 NIV)
“I will remove your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.” (Ezekiel 36:26 NIV)