#DailyDevotion Who Or What Will You Choose?
Matt. 1034“Don’t think that I came to bring peace to the earth. I didn’t come to bring peace but a sword. 35I came to set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. 36 A man’s enemies will be those in his own home. 37If you love father or mother more than Me, you’re not worthy of Me; and if you love son or daughter more than Me, you’re not worthy of Me. 38If you don’t take your cross and follow Me, you’re not worthy of Me. 39If you find your life, you’ll lose it, but if you lose your life for Me, you’ll find it.
Well these verses are just par for the course in Jesus’ discourse as he sends out his 12 disciples on their mission to the lost sheep of Israel. We’ve had to shake the dust off our feet. We’re as sheep among wolves. We’re dragged before governors and kings. Family members will betray us to the authorities to be put to death. We’ll be hunted down. We will be killed. On top of that Jesus says here he didn’t come to bring peace to the earth but a sword. But wait! I thought he was the prince of peace. Well he is to all who accept his message of peace. But his message of peace brings division from those who oppose it.
So again, members of our own household will be set against one another on account of Jesus. Your enemies will be those people in our own homes, fathers, mothers, sons, daughters, in-laws. Any and all of these will be opposed to you on account of Jesus.
It is all about who do you love more. Do you love the LORD Jesus more or do you love your family more. I’m fairly convinced that was a choice Adam faced when he ate the forbidden fruit. Eve, his wife, had already eaten the fruit. She was going to die (if she wasn’t spiritually dead already at this moment). Was Adam going to join her, the woman he loved, and disobey the LORD or would he love the LORD more and not join her? Well we know the answer. He loved his wife more than the LORD and he rebelled against the LORD and rejected him. So who do you love more? When family members ask you to sin against the LORD by breaking some commandment, who are you going to follow, Jesus or them? That’s a subtle and sometimes more daily problem than some people think it is. Then in some places the choice really is more stark, it’s either reject Jesus as your God, the LORD or be rejected by your family who worships some other god(s). At this point it is good to remember Jesus’ earlier promise that God cares for you so much, even the hairs on your head are numbered by him.
Then Jesus even gets more personal. What about your own life? What do you love more, your own life or Jesus? Jesus tells us to pick up our cross and follow him. This must have sounded pretty strange to his disciples at the time. Jesus had not yet been crucified nor had he been talking about being crucified yet as he would later in Matthew. But they were most assuredly familiar with crucifixions. If you followed Jesus, you might get crucified. You may be asked to pick up a cross and bear it to your death for following Jesus. While we may spiritualize the cross here for various sufferings in our life, and we will have sufferings, this is perhaps Jesus’ earliest prediction he was going to be crucified? We’re being asked to follow him. If you are unwilling to lose your life and suffer in your life on account of your faith in Jesus because you love your life more, you will actually lose your life. You may have peace in this life. You may not get crucified. People may not kill you. But if you choose yourself over Jesus you are choosing eternal death over eternal life. Temporal life and eternal death or temporal death and eternal life are your choices. Jesus offers you eternal life when you follow him.
Heavenly Father, we cannot fear, love and trust in Christ Jesus above all things without your Holy Spirit. Grant us your Holy Spirit always that our choice will always be the LORD Jesus Christ above all things, even our own family and life. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.