“Just then a man came up to Jesus and asked, ‘Teacher, what good thing must I do to get eternal life?'” — Matthew 19:16
There have been times in my life—particularly when things have not gone my way—that I have longed for eternal life and heaven much like this man who comes to Jesus in Matthew 19.
It's interesting to note that this man had success by the world (and church's) standards. In fact, many things seemed to be going his way. He was very wealthy, well connected, and did all the “right” things—like going to church, living justly, and honoring others. Yet, this man had a spiritual itch that could not seem to be scratched. He thought that money, people, and notoriety would certainly sooth his life-purpose itch. They did not. These false comforts left him unsatisfied and empty. That's when we meet him talking to Jesus and asking this iconic question about eternal life.
We're often a lot like this man. We feel the itch of sin, but try to scratch it with shame. We feel the itch of comparison, and try to scratch it with performance. We feel the itch of fear and pain, and try to scratch it with TV or other mind-numbing activities. Sadly, none of these things satisfy, at least not for long.
What was Jesus' solution? Jesus looked at the man and said, if you want to be perfect, put down what you are trying to scratch your itch with, and follow me. It's interesting…Jesus didn't say, “believe” in me. He said follow me. It wasn't by a cognitive, verbal confession of faith that this man would get his itch scratched, but it was by slowing down, getting up-close to, spending time with, and following Jesus.
What part of your life is leaving you itchy? Take 2 hours this week to sit down with God and ask him to scratch it for you.
Read Is God Waiting for a date with You on the Forge App for more practical tips on how to do this.