Mark 10:17-31 (click here to read on YouVersion)
It's true--saying no to your flesh is hard. Resisting the human urges of sinful greed and materialism is one of the most difficult things one can do as a Christian. This season of prayer, fasting, and repentance is a season of saying "no" to the natural desires of the flesh that we might find fulfillment and satisfaction in Christ alone.
In our text today, Jesus speaks with a man we know only as "The Rich Young Ruler." This man knew the scriptures and obviously had a desire for the Kingdom he heard Jesus preaching about. But, the man was faced with a choice that dealt with the true affections of his heart. What was more important: material possessions or an eternal kingdom?
It's important to notice that Jesus doesn't disqualify wealthy people from heaven. But he does say it's harder for the wealthy to put their wealth in it's proper position of priority. And it's easy for money and material possessions to become the god we worship. Jesus will never share the throne of your heart with another idol.
The amazing thing, though, is that when we trust Jesus with our belongings--he provides for us in abundance. Jesus isn't opposed to wealth. In fact, he WANTS to bless us abundantly. For example: feeding 5000 people with just a packed lunch for one and having 12 baskets of leftovers. He even miraculously paid the Apostle Peter's taxes. He inspired the fishermen to let down their nets one more time and they harvested a net-breaking, boat-filling blessing! Jesus is the God of extravagant blessing and abundance.
But his call to us is to cease seeking wealth and begin seeking the Kingdom and His righteousness (Matthew 6:33). It's all about priorities. It's all about Lordship. It's all about who (or what?) we worship.
As you fast this week and practice self-denial, allow the Holy Spirit to speak to you about your own priorities. If you examined how you spend your time, your money, and your energy what are you really serving? And what/who are you really worshipping?
Heavenly Father, I thank you for every material blessing you give me. And I ask you for the grace to never fall into idolatry or sinful worship of material belongings or wealth. Holy Spirit, search me and know me. Reveal to me improper priorities or affections. Set my heart only on you and your righteousness. Amen.