16 And behold, a man came up to him, saying, “Teacher, what good deed must I do to have eternal life?” 17 And he said to him,“Why do you ask me about what is good? There is only one who is good. If you would enter life, keep the commandments.” 18 He said to him, “Which ones?” And Jesus said, “You shall not murder, You shall not commit adultery, You shall not steal, You shall not bear false witness, 19 Honor your father and mother, and, You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 20 The young man said to him, “All these I have kept. What do I still lack?” 21 Jesus said to him, “If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” 22 When the young man heard this he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.
When I read this passage, I was always really frustrated with the young man. I mean, c'mon, he has already worked for his whole life to follow God's instructions, but he is not willing to give up this last thing.
But recently, I was reading through a book my sister had called "Made to Crave." (Really good book by the way). The main point of this book is that in our lives we often turn to things other than God to satisfy us in one way or another. When this happens, and something either takes more of our time than God or becomes more important than him, it is sin. There was even a portion by Timothy Keller about how sin can often be simply turning good things into idols.
Personally, I tend to see sin as a black-and-white issue. Lying is sin. Stealing is sin. Selfishness is sin. Those kinds of sin are all associated with "bad" things. Pretty straightforward, right?
However, I am only recently starting to realize that there is another kind of sin that involves making a good thing too important, too big. Simply put, I can make such a thing an idol. I firmly believe that too much of a good thing is a bad thing.
So upon reading and studying this, I started to do some prayerful consideration of what things in my life might be taking God's place in one way or another.
The first thing I considered was my time. Maybe you can relate, but I never seem to have enough of it. I tried to think through whatever aspect of my life is taking more time than the time I spend with God.
The second thing I thought about was parts of my life that may hinder my attentiveness to God's will. My youth group leader recently talked about "looking for ways that Jesus may be asking us to be a part of his story." As a follower of Jesus, I need to watch out for ways that he may want to use me on a day to day basis.
When I thought through both of these things, one potential idol came to mind: the internet. Now, it is not that any of the things that I do on the internet are "bad." I enjoy blogging, reading the blogs of other Christian young ladies, and recently, pinning things on Pinterest. The problem comes when these activities are taking too much of my time and energy. While my time on the internet can certainly be restful and enjoyable, I started to wonder what God could be doing with my life if I changed my habits a bit.
What if, instead of blogging about how God is working in my life, I first spent time in prayer thanking Him for His love and guidance?
What if, instead of reading about the latest scriptural doctrine controversy, I delved into the Word in order to learn more about the God I serve?
What if, instead of reading a blog during my free 10 minutes at school, I looked around and considered who God might have me minister to?
What if, instead of watching Blimey Cow videos with my brother, I took the time to do a Bible study with him?
So, my friends, all this to say that I am going to be taking a break, and you won't be seeing me for a while. For the month of May, I am going to take a break from the internet as much as possible. I don't see this as a forever thing, but rather as a way to take a look at the big picture of my life and my priorities.
I don't want to be like the rich young man. I want to be willing to give up whatever Jesus calls me to. This will be a challenge for me, and I am well aware of that fact. I will need to rely much on the Holy Spirit's power to not fall into the trap of "just this once."
So I would encourage you to evaluate what your "great possessions" are. Jesus wants your whole life, all of you, not just part of it. What is the one thing you are holding back from Jesus today?