Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Love Motivates God's Tough Challenges

I love it when God shows you something in His Word you have never noticed before. I have read about the rich young ruler many times, but never seen what God showed me today.

You know the story: a rich man comes to Jesus and asks what he must do to inherit eternal life. Jesus recites some of the 10 commandments, and the man says he has kept them all from his youth. Before Jesus tells him that he has to sell all he owns and give it to the poor, Mark 10:21 opens a window for us to see into Jesus' heart.

Look carefully at this passage: "And Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, 'You lack one thing: go, sell all you have ....'" Before Jesus issues this very strict challenge, it says Jesus loved him. Wow. It is love that motivates God's tough challenges.

When God challenges us or appears to be tough on us, we can be sure that He loves us and has our best interests at heart. Every parent knows what this is like. Becasue we love our children, we are hard on them when we know they need it. Jesus knew that money was the god of this man's life, and as long at money remained his god, he would not be fulfilling his purpose in life. Jesus was offering him a better way, but he would have to sacrifice before he would experirence this better way.

Even when God has to discipline us for disobedience, He does this out of love. Hebrews 12:6 says, "For the Lord disciplines the one He loves." Hebrews 12:10 reminds us further that "He disciplines us for our good." God always wants the best for us. Even when His best might not be easy for us, we can rest assured that He loves us and wants us to experience His "good, acceptable and perfect will" (Romans 12:1-2).

What are you going through right now that is difficult? Where do you feel the Lord is being hard on you or putting you through more than you can handle? Regardless of what you are experiencing, know that God has your best at heart and loves you more than you can ever imagine. Because God is love, His actions are always motivated out of love for you!