Jesus Knows Our Soft Spots: He Know Inner Us vs. What the World Sees

Posted: April 19, 2015 in 42-Gospel of Luke

Luke 18:18-30 — Putting on a show. Outward appearances. Masking the inner reality. Letting people see one thing but feeling another. Outward appearances are one thing but the inner realities are what we are really like. Recently, are part of the book study called The Story (by that my small group did, each of us had to share our life stories under the same breakdown of the Bible that the study used (Creation, Fall, Rescue, Restoration). Each time I share my journey to the cross, I see it more clearly each time I share it. Growing up as a Methodist preacher’s kid set a pattern in my life. My life story has been one of seeking approval, trying to fit in at whatever the cost. It involved making choices to keep others happy and approving of me. It meant accepting things that caused me to lose my identity and forget my own needs solely to keep other people happy. This was particularly true in my relationships. In most relationships, people will take the power of you that you allow them to have. The approval measure that I had for myself was bedroom approval. I measure it by whether I had it or not. It gave me great self -worth when I had it and the lowest of low esteems when I was not. Thus, I gave my spouses a power over me that was a rollercoaster ride. To maintain happiness and to keep bedroom approval, I accepted and went along with anything just to make the wife at the time happy. Outward appearances masking inner realities.

I lived life nervous while outwardly smiling. It was no way to live. When you worship something other than God, it eventually comes crashing down. It eventually consumes you and wrecks you. Man, how it can wreck you. There will come a time in life where you have to choose between the truth of God and the varying truths of your god. He will present situations in life where you have to choose between what is right and true and what is smoke and mirrors and is false. What will you choose? For me the relationship with the god of approval came down to a choice of doing what was right by my children rather than what was legally required. It was doing what a father does for his children, going the extra mile, sacrificing, and doing what was right for them instead of trying to please my spouse. What is important to you will come out when God presents these choices in our lives. I thank God for making these painful choices in my life that lead me to the cross and lead me to the first real marriage I have ever had.

Here in this passage, we see the mastery of Jesus. His encounter of the rich young man cuts to the chase of outward appearances vs. inner motivation. Jesus knew peoples hearts. He could cut right to the chase. He knew what their true motivations were. Here, He challenges the man right where he lived. He had done all the right things. He gave the appearance of keeping the law but there was one hidden god that he did not want people to see. Jesus goes right for the jugular. He goes right for the weak link. He goes for the soft spot in the man’s façade. Jesus knew that the rich young man was in love with his money. Even though he may have done all the right things with it, he still loved it more than he loved God.

We can keep the law if we try really hard. We can keep from committing adultery. That’s outward. But can you say that you have not lusted without taking action on it. The inward lust is as much a sin as the outward act of adultery. We can keep from committing murder. That’s outward. But can you say that you have never been angry enough to kill someone. That inward anger is just as much a sin as committing murder itself. We can keep from stealing something that does not belong to us. That’s outward. But desiring that which does not belong to you to the point of envy is just as much as sin as the act of stealing. We can keep ourselves from telling lies about others in public. That’s outward. But gossiping about them behind their back is just as much a sin as standing in the public square and telling a lie. We can outwardly honor our father and mother. We can do that. That’s outward. But thinking your mom and dad are idiots privately is just as much a sin as not honoring them publicly. We can make people believe many things outwardly that hide our true inner self. Jesus can see the real you and the real me.

When we put anything before God, we may can hide that to others. We can put on appearances. We can wear the mask. We hide virtually all our inner feelings from others but we cannot hide them from God. He sees it all. Jesus cuts right to the point. Jesus says I do not care about all the things that you want people to see. I want to know if I am first in your life. I know what your soft spot is and I am going right for it. He presents the choice that we all must make at some point in our lives. Do you want to follow Jesus are keep your god. Do you riches or do you want Jesus? Do you want your addiction or do you want Jesus? Do you want the approval of others or do you want Jesus? Do you want bedroom approval or do you want Jesus? Do you want to keep up with the Joneses or do you want Jesus? Do you want whatever it is that you have made your god or do you want God? He will present this choice to each of us at some point in our lives. Are you without hope because you have been worshipping something other than God all your life? God will confront you one day on this. He will present you a choice between following Him or following your god. Following his perfect righteousness or following the created thing that you worship that will always ultimately disappoint. The day will come. Make the choice to follow a perfect and Holy Creator and not the things He created. They only disappoint. They only demand all your attention and leave you with nothing. They consume you. Only God is worth our worship. It is only God who builds up rather than tearing down. It is only God who gives us freedom rather than enslavement. He is God. There is no other.

Even after we accept Christ as our Savior, we still have these battles that we must win. The Holy Spirit comes to dwell in us but we still sin and there is a lifetime battle against the shrines of gods of things we hold as important is waged. The Holy Spirit destroys these temples over a lifetime and makes us more and more like Christ each day. Some of our sin shrines are ones we protect and the battle for these is greatest and takes the longest. What is that one sin shrine that you are battling to keep from the Holy Spirit? Is it money, sex, jealousies, power, guilt, addictions? What is that last stronghold that you will not give over to be destroyed? For the rich young ruler, it was money. It was the last thing that he wanted to give up. Christ follower, examine yourself. As a Christ follower, I must examine myself. What am I holding back from God’s control? May we examine ourselves. May look in our hearts and see what Jesus sees. He can see what we have not given up to his control. Help us to see those things for what they are and not what we want others to see. Jesus does not care about the outward appearance of a thing. He cares about the heart of a thing. He sees the shrines you are hiding. Bring them to Him. And say, here Jesus I want to put this under your footstool. I want to submit this to your authority. I want you to have it all. I want to please you, not myself, not others. I want you to see my heart pursuing you. I want you see a heart that is holding nothing back. Hiding nothing. I want my outward appearance to be driven by my inner love for you. I want no longer to have to have outward appearances to cover my inner heart.

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