by Michelle Pang
“There is a God-shaped vacuum in the heart of each man which cannot be filled by any created thing, but only by God, the Creator, made known through Jesus Christ.” Blaise Pascal
What are you filling your life with? What governs your mind these days? Too much of the wrong and even good things can lead you away from God. However, the closer you are to God the world will be less attractive and insignificant. The Bible gives two choices where we can set our minds on: “For those who live according to the flesh think about the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, about the things of the Spirit” (Romans 8:5).
The rich, young ruler had everything going for him: youth, wealth, status. As a ruler, he would have been in charge of the Jewish synagogue. He would have heard of Jesus and His teachings of the Kingdom of God, witnessed the healings of many during Jesus’ public ministry. He made a point to stop Jesus in his tracks and posed this question to him, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” Why do you call me good?” Jesus asked him. “No one is good but One- God. You know the commandments” (Mark 10:17-19a). The fact that he came to talk to Jesus and asked an important question about life (v.17) suggests a lack in his life and a struggle with the flesh. What is inherent in the young man’s question is about what he can do for God. The flesh is about self-absorption, what the self can do and achieve. The flesh relies on good works and good morals to feed upon the self for temporal satisfaction. There is nothing that makes you more miserable, ineffective or less interesting than absorption with yourself and the things of this world. Being a good moral person does not produce a spiritually changed heart; it produces rather a divided heart filled with conflicting thoughts. Part of the rich, young ruler respected Christ, part of him wanted to serve Christ. Another part wanted to trust in his good works and his love for wealth and status. We are told at the end of his encounter with Jesus, he walked away sad, because his possessions prevented him from receiving the very life of God that would have liberated him from the flesh.
We are designed to reign in life. His Spirit, when infused into the core of our being, will flood our heart, mind, and soul with the very life of God – eternal life. “For if, because of one man’s trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ” (Romans 5:17).
What is impossible with men is possible with God. Good behavior does not save; Jesus does. Moral discipline does not make you righteous, Jesus does. Romans 8:3 says, “The law of Moses was unable to save us because of the weakness of our sinful nature. So God did what the law could not do. He sent his own Son in a body like the bodies we sinners have. And in that body God declared an end to sin’s control over us by giving his Son as a sacrifice for our sins.”
Are you experiencing an inner lack or an emptiness even though life seems full and busy on the outside? Like the rich, young ruler, come to God with your honest questions. It does not have to end there. Pour out your heart to Him. God will give you his undivided attention. His response to you is meant to open up access for you to see deeply into God’s heart and your heart. His perfect love will cast out any fears you have of yourself and thus draw you into his marvelous light. May His truth keep you from falling and may His Spirit govern you to reign in life. Amen.
Discussion Question and Prayer Points
1. Share one thing you have learned how to reign in life through this devotion.
2. Romans 8:3 says, “The law of Moses was unable to save us because of the weakness of our sinful nature. So God did what the law could not do. He sent his own Son in a body like the bodies we sinners have. And in that body God declared an end to sin’s control over us by giving his Son as a sacrifice for our sins.”
Claim this truth for yourself and declare it together. Know that sin has no power and control over you. Your desire is to yield to the Spirit working in your life producing in you a desire to do God’s will.
3. Pray for someone you know who is like the “rich, young ruler.” Sometimes the Lord wants us to reach out to the very people we are praying for. Seek how the Lord wants to work through you and the person you are praying for.