If you asked a recent high school graduate the same question after completing a four year degree in college, perspectives would likely change. Human nature tends to make young people think they are infallible. When you add knowledge, wisdom and a wealth of information to this equation, some will likely think they know it all, now smarter than their parents. This is the state we find the rich young ruler in the passage below, only lacking one thing in life.
A certain ruler asked Him, “Good Teacher [You who are essentially and morally good], what shall I do to inherit eternal life [that is, eternal salvation in the Messiah’s kingdom]?” 19 Jesus said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is [essentially and morally] good except God alone, Luke 18:18-19.
Searching for eternal security, this man sought out Jesus, hoping to discover the secret to possessing eternal life. Immediately, Jesus catches this ruler off guard by demonstrating humility, giving God the credit for his goodness. From here Jesus turns his attention to God’s standards in the Torah, the first five books in the Old Testament. Obtaining knowledge of the Bible is one thing, but applying these principles separate average believers from genuine people of faith. Perhaps, this rich young ruler thought he could enter heaven by being a good person.
You know the commandments: ‘Do not commit adultery, Do not murder, Do not steal, Do not testify falsely, Honor your father and your mother.’” 21 He replied, “I have kept all these things from my youth.” 22 When Jesus heard this, He said to him, “You still lack one thing; sell everything that you have and distribute the money to the poor, and you will have [abundant] treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me [becoming My disciple, believing and trusting in Me and walking the same path of life that I walk],” Luke 18:20-22.
There are two invisible forces which drag and nudge souls in different directions. The Holy Spirit convicts hearts and minds, revealing imperfections and shortcomings. Meanwhile, the sinful nature is more accommodating, making those who stray from God think more highly about themselves than they should. While the Spirit led the apostle Paul to claim he was the greatest sinner of all in 1 Timothy 1:15, my flesh made me feel better the further I slipped away from God in college. This spiritual dilemma exists today, compared to a spiritual war in Galatians 5:16-18. Thus, if you really want to know what are you still lacking, draw close to God and He will make you whole.
by Jay Mankus