Summary: When we ask God speak to us, we must be prepared to hear Him, and to do whatever He asks, even when it is difficult.

Now as [Jesus] was going out on the road, one came running, knelt before Him, and asked Him, “Good Teacher, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?”

So Jesus said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God. You know the commandments: ‘Do not commit adultery,’ ‘Do not murder,’ ‘Do not steal,’ ‘Do not bear false witness,’ ‘Do not defraud,’ ‘Honor your father and your mother.’”

And he answered and said to Him, “Teacher, all these things I have kept from my youth.”

Then Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, “One thing you lack: Go your way, sell whatever you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, take up the cross, and follow Me.”

But he was sad at this word, and went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions

Mark 10:17-22

Here we have the story of a man other Gospel writers call “the rich young ruler,” who came to see Jesus.

• He’s a good Jewish lad. We can tell this by his response to Jesus: “I’ve kept these commandments since I was young.”

• He genuinely wants to hear from Jesus: “What must I do to inherit eternal life?”

• When faced with what the Lord required of him, he turned away, full of grief and sadness.

Today I want to diagnose what kept this young man from following Jesus’ words, and how we can keep ourselves from following his example.


Have you ever prayed to God for direction? Many of us struggle with what to do for our future, our children, our work. We pray, “God, lead me. Show me what to do. Help me, Lord.”

Some of us pray for years without an answer. Others pray and receive an answer quickly, but understand that what they are called to do will take preparation. What is your response when you receive the answer to your cry for direction?

This young man came to Jesus looking for direction. He had a question and needed an answer. Perhaps he thought he’d prepared Himself for anything Jesus asked. His heart wasn’t ready, though, for the answer Jesus gave him.

“Good Teacher, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?”

“Go your way, sell whatever you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, take up the cross, and follow Me.”

Mark 10:17, 21

The young ruler had what I call, Uh-oh-itis. Uh-oh-itis is the fear and hesitation we face when we receive an answer from God, and it takes us into one of 3 situations:

1. The Unfamiliar

This is something completely new to us. We haven’t heard about it or read it in our Bibles before. No one taught it to us in Sunday School. It may have been available to us all along, but we didn’t see it. It’s unfamiliar, so we hesitate.

2. The Uncomfortable

When God’s word directs us to do something that is outside of our gifts or comfort zone, it gets uncomfortable. It’s a stretch for us. It isn’t bad, it just doesn’t seem like God called the right number when He decided to assign this task. When it’s uncomfortable, we fear, doubt and deflect.

3. The Undesirable

Sometimes God’s direction is totally different or opposite than we expect from Him. We have another approach or interpretation of what’s going on. We think we’re right, and He must not have heard us correctly. Our hopes were for something different. We don’t think His direction is correct or possible. It’s undesirable, and we grow sad and return home sorrowful.

Not a single one of us is immune to Uh-oh-itis. The only treatment for it is discipline.

Now, I’m not talking about grounding yourself or hurting your body as a means to purify or cleanse you. Discipline is training that says, “This is what I must do,” and then does it. This kind of discipline is what treats Uh-oh-itis.

Of course, even this treatment is not a true cure. We will not be immune to the fear and hesitation that comes from unfamiliar, uncomfortable and undesirable direction from God. But each time we buckle down and do what we must, it gets easier the next time.

“Just Do It”

This discipline that treats Uh-oh-itis can be summed up in three words, which also happens to be the popular marketing slogan of a clothing brand: “Just do it.”

“It” is a broad descriptor of the things various activities we take part in. For Nike it relates to sports: running, weight lifting, walking, basketball, baseball, football, etc.

eBay, the online selling and auction giant, at one time used the following for a marketing phrase: “Whatever it is, you can find it on eBay.” Whether you’re looking for books, home décor, music, cars, a scale replica of the star ship Enterprise, or a Survivor tribal Buff, you can find it on eBay.

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