Everyone in the world is in pursuit of a “good life”. But, whether it is a self-centered worldly-minded way of living on one extreme (Jude 1:15), or a self-righteous works-minded way of living on the other (Isaiah 64:6), both are equally detestable in God’s eyes. Just because the former may seem more evil outwardly, that can deceive us into thinking that we are somehow better because our works are outwardly “good.”
These 2 extremes are evident in all areas of life, e.g.:
– Money: On one extreme, money can be your master, controlling your thoughts and actions, and becoming the source of your security; this love of money is the root of all forms of evil (I Timothy 6:10). On the other extreme, you can think that godliness is in being materially poor, or that by being generous or philanthropic you can earn your way into eternal life. Both of these extremes are detestable to God.
– Sports: On one extreme, sports can be your idol, captivating your time and thoughts. On the other extreme, you can think that complete abstinence from playing or watching sports makes you more pleasing to God. Both of these extremes are detestable to God.
– Career/Job: On one extreme, your career or job can become your identity, leading you away from the kingdom of heaven. On the other extreme, you can neglect your earthly studies in school or work at your job, spending your time instead on religious activities like prayer meetings and Bible studies; yet, God, observing your unfaithfulness with your earthly responsibilities, will not be able to entrust heavenly riches to you (Luke 16:11). Both of these extremes are detestable to God.
– Ministry: On one extreme, your lust for ministry can become your passion, yet you can justify it because it’s “God’s work.” On the other extreme, you can neglect the gifts God has given you and lose sight of His purpose for placing you in His Body. Both of these extremes are detestable to God.
– Marriage: On one extreme, your evaluation of your marriage can come from a “Hollywood” standard of how “in love” you feel with each other. On the other extreme you can be proud of the “godly marriage” or “godly home” that YOU built. Both of these extremes are detestable to God.
– Reputation: On one extreme, you can allow the opinions of people to hold you in bondage. On the other extreme, you can have a “couldn’t-care-less” attitude about it, preventing you from being able to receive counsel from godly people who care about you. Both of these extremes are detestable to God.
– Righteousness: On on extreme, you can turn God’s grace into license to keep on sinning (Jude 1:4). On the other extreme, you can strive in your own strength to overcome sin, and think that that is godliness. Both of these extremes are detestable to God.
The rich young ruler came to Jesus asking what other good works he needed to do to EARN his way into eternal life (Matthew 19:16); Jesus’ answer made it clear that it was instead a life that he had to ENTER into (v17)! The rich man’s life was like a tower of good works that he had built, and he expected Jesus to tell him what other building blocks he needed to add so that he could finally reach heaven (like the Tower of Babel). What Jesus told him essentially was that the one thing he was lacking was the foundation, implying that the whole tower would need to be torn down and rebuilt. This was something the rich young man was unwilling to do, and so he missed out on eternity.
Jesus isn’t calling you to try to live a GOOD life, but to receive His ETERNAL life. The difference between the two is the difference between heaven and hell. It doesn’t matter what age you are — even if you have mere seconds to live, like the thief on the cross — risk it all today to make Jesus your EVERYTHING. It will be the best decision of your life!