Impossible Freedom: Applying Mark 10
What would freedom look like–feel like–in your life? We often feel that it’s impossible to break free from the compulsions that bind us.
We’re resuming our Gospel of Mark study during the COVID-19 quarantine with a post written by my San Diego friend, Meredith Bowman. It’s a mom’s meditation on Mark 10. Thanks, Meredith, for giving us words to ponder our freedom in today’s impossible conditions.
This weekend I had a conversation with my 8-year-old daughter about her clothing choices. She left the room in tears after I told her that a certain type of outfit that “everyone else was wearing” (in 2nd grade mind you) crossed the line for us and was inappropriate.
I thought, “If she reacted this strongly now, what will her teenage years be like?” As I sat in my living room, I became very fearful of her future–and mine–regarding temptations for this area of her life.
My Bible was still sitting on my lap and so I opened it and read ahead into Mark 10. The story of the rich young ruler jumped off the page.
His face fell.
I could see my daughter was “walking away sad” like the rich young ruler when he was asked to give up something that was valuable to him, but not actually blessing him.
When he heard what Jesus was asking him to do, Mark 10:22 records, “At this the man’s face fell.” That was the same reaction my daughter had – she looked away from me and began to cry. It is also the same reaction I had when I became fearful for my daughter.
When each of us was faced with something challenging, our “faces fell.” We took our eyes off Jesus and put them on what was challenging us. The ruler couldn’t imagine giving up his riches, my daughter couldn’t imagine giving up her outfit, and I couldn’t imagine how parenting a teenager would go well.
Impossible, but not with God
Even the disciples reacted. Jesus’ response to them went straight to my heart. “With man it is impossible, but not with God. For all things are possible with God,” Mark 10:27.
“With man it is impossible, but not with God. For all things are possible with God.”Mark 10:27
Once again, I’ve learned that the answer lies simply in Jesus. What seems impossible when we look at our circumstances alone, becomes instantly possible when we look to God. He makes all things possible. “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith…” (Hebrews 12:2). When we look to him, he not only gives us the grace to give up what he’s asking, he also shows us his motive behind the asking:
“Jesus looked at him and loved him,”Mark 10:21
Jesus didn’t want the rich young man to lose his riches. Nor does He want my daughter to be unfashionable. What He does want is for those things not to have a grip on us. In short, he wants to give us a freedom that’s impossible for us to grasp when our hands are full.
Who knows? The young ruler could use his riches to become a great philanthropist. My daughter could one day use her love of fashion to design clothes.
The point is he wants to set us free. Free to enjoy our money – to spend, save, or give at the Spirit’s leading. Free to enjoy our clothes and wear them for His glory, not our own. And free to look forward to parenting the teenage years in faith and without fear.
Such freedom is utterly impossible for us to attain. Only Christ can set us free like that.