IMPOSSIBLE BUT COMPULSORY
“Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave Himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.”
This can be listed among a number of verses that we could label, “Impossible but compulsory”, along with: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart…”; “Love your neighbour…”; “Love your enemies…”
In Mark’s version of the Rich Young Man story (Mark 10:17-31), we are told that, “Jesus looked at him and LOVED him” (v21), before dealing the ‘killer’ command (impossible but compulsory), “One thing you lack… Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”
There is no wriggling out of it; we are called to live a wonderful but sacrificial life of extravagant love, if we are to truly follow God’s example in Jesus. I know I want to (well, most of me wants to), but I cannot help thinking, “Impossible!!!”.
Yet a few verses down in Mark’s story, Jesus gives the answer: “With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God” (v27).
So… what do we do? Living a life of love involves (a) looking to the example of true love shown by Christ on the cross, (b) realising that this means YOU and I are truly loved, (c), coming before God and saying, “Lord, this is impossible for me, but You command it, so as I do what I can, please do the rest,” and (d), as the old hymn puts it, ‘trust and obey…’
PRAYER: Father, in Your love you command each of us to live a whole life of love. Let me not shrink away from the cost as the Rich Young Man did, but ‘trust and obey’. I cannot obey this command by myself but give me the power, opportunity and faith to express Your love today in practical ways. Amen