January 26, 2023
What Holds the Key to Your Heart?
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“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.’” Luke 18:22 (NIV)
I long to be a woman who follows hard after Jesus.
I want the kind of soul-satisfying closeness that can only come from daily keeping pace with Him, not a life full of “good Christian” boxes I check off.
The checklist can be such a tempting routine to fall into, can’t it?
Rules and regulations were an everyday reality for God’s people in the Old Testament. There were lists of do’s and don’ts to help sinful people maintain fellowship with a holy God. First the Ten Commandments. Then law after law about sacrifices and ceremonies, food and cleanliness.
But in the New Testament, Jesus fulfilled the law (Matthew 5:17-18) and turned everything upside down with His message of grace. A message that declares, “Following rules won’t get you into heaven. Being good won’t earn you bonus points. Lay down your checklists … your agendas … everything … and follow Me. Believe in Me. Receive Me. Live like Me.”
It was a complete shift in thinking. One that left people perplexed, like the rich ruler in Luke 18.
We first meet the rich ruler when he approached Jesus with a question: “Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” (Luke 18:18, NIV).
Jesus, already knowing this man’s checklist mindset, began naming several of the Ten Commandments. It was a list the rich ruler felt he had kept well. But Jesus had more to say: “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” (Luke 18:22).
It would be so easy to gloss over this moment and think Jesus was simply talking about money. But the words in this conversation are actually talking about something much deeper. The core issue Jesus was getting at is this: What holds the key to your heart?
Oh, how I want my answer to be this: “Jesus.” I want to want Him the most. To live completely captured by His love. Enthralled with His teachings. Transformed into living proof of His Truth.
There have been others who have gone before me desiring this as well. Imperfect heroes of faith we read about in the Bible who, despite their shortcomings, pleased God through faith. (Hebrews 11) It wasn’t perfect actions that carved a path to God’s heart. It was something else. Something less defined that couldn’t be outlined or dissected. Something that was sometimes messy and offensive. But something so precious at the same time …
Surrender — letting go of anything pulling them away from God.
It’s a word used to describe a little girl leaping from the bed’s edge, completely confident her daddy will catch her. It’s the same thing that fueled David’s courageous run toward Goliath with nothing but a sling and five smooth stones. It’s what fueled Joshua. And Moses. And Noah. And Paul.
And it’s the one thing Jesus was asking of the rich ruler. Not a life lived perfectly but a heart of perfect surrender. So this is the prayer I’m saying today:
Everything I have. Everything I own. Everything I hope for. Everything I fear. Everything I love. Everything I dream. It's all Yours, Jesus. I trust You in complete and utter surrender.
Sadly, this was the one thing this man felt he could not offer. He stood on the edge of everything uncertain, with the arms of all certainty waiting to catch him. And he just couldn’t jump; he lived his life entangled in lesser things.
He was not captured by, enthralled with or transformed into living proof of the reality of Jesus. And so he walked away from the only One who could ever truly satisfy his soul.
Oh, friends. Let’s not allow this to be the tragedy of our lives. Let’s be captured by Jesus’ love, enthralled with His teachings and transformed into living proof of His Truth. Let’s live with abandon and fully trust Him.
The life that follows Jesus with surrender and trust is the life that gets to experience His presence, His provision, His promises, His soul-satisfying abundance.
Father God, please forgive me for all the times I have settled for lesser things. I want to want You most. Today, I am handing You the key to my heart. The key to everything in my life. I love You. I need You. And I want to follow hard after You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
OUR FAVORITE THINGS
Sometimes just getting through the next few hours of our day is hard in itself. Isn’t it true that it’s not always the big things that seem out of control but the little frustrations and stressors of life that seem to pile up? Proverbs 31 Ministries deeply understands this. That’s why our team created The Encouragement for Today Podcast — to help you take a moment out of your day to receive the biblical perspective and encouragement you need to hear wherever you are. Listen to these timely devotions here.
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FOR DEEPER STUDY
Matthew 6:33, “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” (NIV)
Sometimes certain areas of our lives can feel harder to surrender to God than others. Is there anything you’re having a hard time surrendering right now? How can you purposefully choose to trust God in that area today? We'd love to hear from you in the comments.
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