Luke 18:18 – A certain ruler asked him, “Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” 19 “Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good—except God alone. 20 You know the commandments: ‘You shall not commit adultery, you shall not murder, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, honor your father and mother.’” 21 “All these I have kept since I was a boy,” he said. 22 When Jesus heard this, he said to him, “You still lack one thing. Sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” 23 When he heard this, he became very sad, because he was very wealthy. 24 Jesus looked at him and said, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God! 25 Indeed, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.”

26 Those who heard this asked, “Who then can be saved?” 27 Jesus replied, “What is impossible with man is possible with God.” (NIV)

Today’s passage can be troubling for some.  Some read this passage and ask themselves, “Do we really need to give away all of our possessions in order to have eternal life?”  Jesus was not in the habit of telling people to sell all of their possessions, but he certainly was in the habit of telling people what it was that was standing in the way of their relationship with God.  At the end of Luke, chapter 9, Jesus confronts several men with the cost of discipleship.  The men had answers as to why they couldn’t follow Jesus at that time.  To those men, and to this rich ruler in this passage, the answer is essentially the same – that which comes between us and God must go.

After Jesus confronts the rich ruler, the disciples ask Jesus how can anyone be saved?  Jesus did not respond by telling them to go and sell their possessions.  Instead, he tells them that left on our own, it is impossible to be saved, but with God it is possible.  How do we tie this in with the man who was told to sell his possessions?  There are things that each of us cling to – things that we do not want to give up at any cost.  These may be material possessions, or they may be things like anger, resentment, or certain habits.  Often, these are the very things that come between us and a rich relationship with God.  On our own, we cannot overcome these things that destroy our relationship with God.  We can, however, overcome with the power of the Holy Spirit.

In John 16:33, Jesus told us that he had overcome the world.  Jesus offers to us the strength and power to overcome, as well.  Today, let us ask the Holy Spirit to help us overcome the things of this world that are coming between us and God. 

Posted by Ramón Torres