Jesus comes along and offers an invitation to a richer life, the A-plus life in the Kingdom of Him, not Me. But only if you want it. He won’t force it on you. Sometimes, I wish he would; don’t you? Jesus smiles lovingly, and says, “If you want it, I’ll take you deeper into the promised land. But only if.” Will I insist on saving my kingdom or am I willing to lose it?
This is the question Jesus is addressing to the disciples, and to you, recorded at Matthew 16:25:
“For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it.”
Why do we hold back? We think we simply cannot let go, we cannot live without whatever it is we are holding onto. We say,“Jesus, I want to follow you. I want to let go of what is holding me back, but I can’t. Not now. Can’t you see that? It would be too hard. The mountain is too high; the gate is too narrow.”
Jesus looks at you with love, just as he looked at the rich young ruler as he walked away from Jesus’ challenge and invitation to go deeper. He looks at you with love and says, “Okay, if you won’t, I won’t force you. But if you want my Life to the Full, follow me through this gate. Let’s go deeper, together.”
Jesus is inviting you and challenging you, “If you want to follow me, drop what you are holding onto, which is in fact holding onto you, and therefore holding you back from going deeper with me.”
The rich young ruler went away sad because he knew Jesus’ way would lead him deeper into the Kingdom, but he couldn’t let go and surrender. He could no longer ignore his conviction, but he wasn’t ready to follow. If you find yourself in this position, you will understand his sadness. It’s a miserable feeling to stiff-arm Jesus when he has convicted your heart of a nagging issue.
But if you want His life, start by stepping down from your Throne of Me and stepping deeper through this next gate into the vast richness of the Kingdom of God. It will require letting go, dropping this one thing about which you are now convicted. Is it a bad habit? Is it a heart issue: resentment, envy, or unforgiveness? Is it a trust issue? (Yes, always.)
I can assure you the reward on the other side will be immeasurably more than anything you could ask for or even imagine asking for. Eph. 3:20