“And a ruler asked him, ‘Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?’ And Jesus said to him, ‘Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone. You know the commandments: “Do not commit adultery, Do not murder, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Honor your father and mother.”‘ And he said, ‘All these I have kept from my youth.’ When Jesus heard this, he said to him, ‘One thing you still lack. Sell all that you have and distribute to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.’ But when he heard these things, he became very sad, for he was extremely rich.” Luke 18:18-23
This man obeyed God’s general commands to a T, but he still had doubts, so he approached Christ. Unfortunately, to him, Jesus made it personal. When Christ gave him a literal—not general—command to sell all he had and follow Him, this man, who had initially sought Jesus out for answers, walked away. It didn’t make him one bit happy to do it, either.
Then there’s the story about the man Jesus freed from demon-possession. This time, the man asked if he could follow, but Jesus told him to go home.
While the rich guy was desperate to acquire tips to feel more in control of his own destiny, the man freed from demon-possession knew Jesus as his Savior, went home, and joyfully told everyone about Jesus; the will of God at work through an obedient heart.
God’s call on an individual life is always very personal. Misinterpreting God’s call is one problem, but defying it is another. Lightning may not strike, but a lightning strike would be a mercy compared to the emptiness of a soul who meets Jesus, but shrinks back.
“To have a master and to be mastered is not the same thing. To have a master means that there is one who knows me better than I know myself, one who is closer than a friend, one who fathoms the remotest abyss of my heart and satisfies it, one who has brought me into the secure sense that he has met and solved every perplexity and problem of my mind. To have a master is this and nothing less—’One is your Master, even Christ’.” —Oswald Chambers