Posted by: pmarkrobb | June 18, 2012

release your barriers

A friend recently asked me why we don’t walk around all day talking about Jesus.  If we really believe the truth about who He is and who we are, why is His name not on our lips all the time?  He was struggling with this question in his own life, and was anxious for my input.  He implored me not to answer right away and I quickly agreed.  What a big question!  I have learned the value of considering such questions quietly and prayerfully, and to reject the urge to give a quick answer.

I have spent some time in conversation with the Spirit, considering my initial thoughts on my friend’s question.  I will continue to wrestle with it, because I believe the dialog is more important than my answer.  My answer would likely have a temporal effect on my friend’s life, but my conversation with the Spirit has life-long implications on my own.

Where I seem to have settled for now, is with our deficiency in really knowing Him.  Of all the things I have considered, this seems to have the deepest resonance.  This is not an issue of knowing about Him, but truly and genuinely knowing Him.  In John 17:3, Jesus describes knowing God and knowing Him as the definition of eternal life.  This is eternal life: that they may know You, the only true God, and the One You have sent —Jesus Christ. (HCSB)  This is not eternal life as we so often define it, the gift received for believing in God and the work of his Son Jesus on the cross.  No this is a here-and-now definition of eternal life, the forever-continuing kingdom life that Jesus so often spoke of.  If my friend called me today to “get his answer”, this is what I would share with him.  His name is not perpetually on my lips because I don’t know Him as I should.

In this week’s parallel account, we meet a character that confronts Jesus with this question of eternal life.  He asks Jesus, “… what good thing must I do to get eternal life ?”  Now before I go on, I have to share how deeply I have been affected by the pattern I see in how Jesus answered people’s questions when he was here walking among us.  I have spent a great deal of time studying Jesus’ life and His never-failing way of seeing into someone’s heart and speaking directly to it.  Think of the Samaritan woman at the well and His deliberate use of the word “husband”.  Jesus told her, “Go, call your husband and come back.” (John 4:16 NIV)  In doing so, He spoke directly to a deep wound that could be healed by the living water He was offering her.  Jesus could have said, “Go tell your friends and bring them all back” … but He didn’t.  In purposeful and deliberate language, He spoke directly to her need.

In answering the rich man’s question, Jesus spoke directly to his need as well.  He knew the rich man’s heart.  He knew the rich man was looking for a checklist … a checklist that stopped short of draining his possessions.  He knew the rich man was not willing to give up everything, so He gave him a list … a list that was missing one thing.  And when the rich man said (paraphrasing), ”I’ve done all that, are you sure there isn’t something else?”, Jesus went right to his need with his response.  “… If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” (Matt 19:21 NIV)  The Bible then says, “When the young man heard this, he went away sad, because he had great wealth.” (Matt 19:22 NIV)

The Samaritan woman went away rejoicing because Jesus spoke to her need and she released it to Him.  The rich man went away sad because Jesus spoke to his need and he held it tight.  The barrier to knowing Jesus and eternal life were his material wealth and possessions.  How about you?  Is there a barrier in your life to truly knowing Him and the experience of eternal life now?  For some it may be the possessions of the rich man, for others it may be the secrets of the Samaritan woman (and there are countless other barriers as well).

See and hear the caution in this week’s parallel focus on the rich man, but please don’t miss the hope and truth of the Samaritan woman’s response to Jesus.  Each new breath that God gives you carries with it the invitation to release your barriers to Jesus and allow him to heal you.  As you do, you will grow in knowing Him, and experience the eternal life that springs from it.


Responses

  1. Rich and refreshing! LIFE!

    Father, might we continue to know You….know You more deeply and intimately – marked by close acquaintance, association, or familiarity……relating to or indicative of one’s deepest nature: intimate prayers……essential; innermost: the intimate structure of matter…….marked by informality and privacy……very personal; private. Thank You, Father, for being “knowable”!

    Thanks Mark!

    Jerry


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