Luke 18:19  “Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good—except God alone.”

      Wow!  Is Jesus telling us that even He isn’t good?  Or is Jesus telling us to be careful about how good we think we are?  Jesus is talking to a rich young ruler who has approached Him with a question as to what he has to do to inherit eternal life (Luke 18: 18 – 27).  Jesus begins his answer with this powerful statement since the rich young ruler called him ‘Good teacher’.  Jesus then goes on and cites the ten commandments and the young ruler immediately says – ‘I’ve followed them all since I was a boy.’  The rich young ruler seems pretty sure that he is a good as anyone gets!
      Jesus takes the wind of the young ruler’s sails;  “You still lack one thing. Sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” (Luke 18:22)  The rich young ruler couldn’t let go of his wealth and went away very sad.  Jesus sums up; “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God!” (v 24)  The disciples asked; “Who then can be saved?”  (v 26) And Jesus answered: “What is impossible with human beings is possible with God.”  (v 27)
     Is it hard for rich people to get into the kingdom of God just because their rich?  Does money alone keep you out?   I don’t think so – it’s your relationship to the money that counts.  If you love it more than God, you’re in as much trouble as the rich young ruler.  Jesus simply showed the rich young ruler what was standing in his way with respect to inheriting eternal life.  For the rich young ruler it was his love of money.  Anything that we place before God will keep us out of the kingdom of God.   For different people it can be different things?
     What holds you back?  What holds me back?  I’ve approached Jesus at some time or another with the attitude that I’m pretty good – I’ve arrived!  Usually I fall into this trap when I’m judging someone or feeling pretty complacent in my (self) righteousness.  He has a way of taking the wind out of my sails. 
     What if he asked me to give up ‘my everything’ and follow Him – would I respond any differently than the rich young ruler?  I realize that there are some things that I am powerless over – I can’t give them up?  In the poverty of that realization I can only throw myself on His mercy.  By His strength I can do all things (Phil 4:13).  On my own I would walk away like the rich young ruler – every time!  That’s who I am!  But when I become poor in spirit and realize that there is no great goodness in me I can receive His blessing;   “Blessed are the poor in spirit, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” (Matt 5:3)
     When I get to Heaven – I’ll be easy to spot.  I’ll be wearing a bright orange t-shirt that says  – JESUS GOT ME IN!