BY DANIEL FOSTER
And he answered and said to Him, “Teacher, all these things I have kept from my youth.” Mark 10:20
This passage is from Mark 10, the story of the rich young ruler who was seeking eternal life from Jesus.
“What must I do?” (verse 17) He asked Jesus, as if there is some sort of checklist we must accomplish to enter Heaven. Sadly, there are many today with this exact thought. If I go to church twice a week, if I help someone in need, if I read my bible exactly 25 minutes each day, if I tithe my 10% I will be good enough to go to Heaven when this life is over. However, it’s never been (and still isn’t) about being “good enough.” But it is all about having a relationship and following Jesus. Jesus lists a few of the commandments we are to follow and the guy insists he has kept them from his youth. Ultimately Jesus tells this guy to sell everything and to take up the cross and to follow Him.
It’s very interesting that he says he has “kept” the commandments. The greek word used for “kept” is “Phulasso" which means "to observe." This rich young ruler had observed the ten commandments. He knew what was right and what was wrong, but just because he knew the difference doesn’t mean he had striven to follow them.
This is just an observation, but I feel like things aren’t that much different 2000 years later. Today a lot of people like to identify as "Christian" simply because they have observed Christianity. They like what Jesus has to say, they’ve been to church, they read the bible, they may know a lot of the answers but there’s still a disconnect because they aren’t actually following Jesus. There’s a difference in knowing about Jesus and actually knowing Jesus.
James 1:22-24 says “But be doers of the word and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was.”
When you look in the mirror and see a nice fat pimple on your face, do you simply observe it and walk off? No, you stay in from of the mirror until you take care of it. I can’t tell you how many times I glance in the mirror and notice that my beard needs trimming only for me to tell myself “I’ll get it in a minute” which usually results in me remembering a few hours later, after I've already left the house. What I should have done was take care of it in the moment I noticed it needed trimming, instead of just observing that it was a problem.
God’s word is like that mirror. We can’t just observe what it says and walk off. We must be doers, and act on what it says. We can’t just observe what is right and wrong, we must take up the cross and be followers of Jesus Christ.
Daniel Foster comes from the outskirts of Atlanta. He serves on staff at DeVotie Baptist Church where he is the student pastor. Daniel is a fan of the Georgia Bulldogs and the Atlanta Braves. You can find him on Twitter at @danielfoster07.