The young man left very sad because his riches meant more to him than following Jesus. I suspect he wasn’t aware that the blessings had replaced the Blesser until he was asked to make a choice between the two.
Jesus also said to follow Him we must be willing to hate/give up the most important relationships in our lives (Luke 14:26).
By Jesus’ own clear instructions, we are told we should not allow anything [riches] or anyone [parents, spouse, siblings, etc.] to stand between us and our relationship with Him.
Jesus wants our undivided, uncompromising focus and attention.
Does this mean Jesus does not want us to have meaningful relationships or possessions in our lives? The answer is, No! Rather, Jesus declares that if we make our relationship with Him our priority, we will discover how to best enjoy the good things and the many relationships of this life.
Learn to hold lightly to money and material things rather than allowing your life and resources to be consumed in the pursuit of these things. Jesus said this is how those who do not know Him live their lives (Matt. 6:32). But for his followers, Christ has promised that for those who seek Him first, He will provide all that they need (Matt. 6:33).
If you are not careful, your life could be caught up in the pursuit of things to the neglect of your relationship with Jesus. For example, are you working long hours or holding down two jobs so you can have bigger, better and the latest of things.
The same is true when it comes to the relationships in your life. If all other relationships are not guided by your relationship with Jesus, it’s all too easy to use and abuse other people to meet your own needs in a selfish way, or to be used and abused by others.
When a relationship with someone or something gets in the way of your relationship with Jesus, you now have a god other than the One who gave His life for you. Your relationship with Jesus should be what sets the boundaries for all other relationships, not the other way around.
When your relationship with Jesus is your priority, you learn to see the value in all other relationships; because you know you are loved and valued, you see others the same way as well. When it comes to relationships, Jesus’ call is to love your neighbor as yourself.
When you make your relationship with Jesus your priority, you discover how much you are loved and valued for who you are as a person. That should lead you to see how much others are loved and valued in the same way.
Jesus asks you to make your relationship with Him a priority above the two things that really define your life–relationships with others and the pursuit of things–not so that He could be some kind of kill joy in your life. Rather it is because He wants you to enjoy both of these as you were originally meant to.
Looking at the things and relationships you value, do any of them take priority over your relationship with Jesus?
Here is the test, what relationship or material possession would you have difficulty giving up to follow Jesus?
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