the hardest words jesus ever spoke...
Luke 14:26 “If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple.”
I've never found any words "harder to swallow", or digest than the words above. They are not easy to take in, and they are not for those who want to have their ears tickled... Jesus said many difficult things while he was here on earth: Drinking His' blood, eating His' flesh, denying oneself, and taking up one's cross, and many other "hard sayings"; ah - but none as brutal to our psyche or comfortable brand of Christianity here in the West as the words uttered by Jesus in Luke 14:26.
To be sure, he made his' point - I HAVE TO BE FIRST IN ALL OF YOUR RELATIONSHIPS! So much so in fact, that Christ will not compete with anyone in your list or field of relationships down here on earth. To do that would simply mean, he is not first. Jesus chose to use the word hate, and the idea of "hating" those we are closest to in our lives, to illustrate that when it comes to love, loyalty and allegiance - HE MUST BE SUPREME.
Everyone else in our lives, everyone - MUST BE A DISTANT 2ND - 3RD, 4TH, and so on. Jesus' choice of this word/hate is telling...
<A-1,Verb,3404, MISEO> "to hate," is used especially (a) of malicious and unjustifiable feelings towards others, whether towards the innocent or by mutual animosity, e.g., Matt. 10:22; 24:10; Luke 6:22,27; 19:14; John 3:20, of "hating" the light (metaphorically); Luke 14:26, as to the claims of parents relatively to those of Christ
Jesus will not tolerate competition when it comes to our relationship with Him. He takes a backseat to no one - not our mothers, our fathers, our sons or daughters, our wives or husbands; not not anyone. To make this point unmistakable, Jesus uses the word hate, metaphorically to show how "distant" our relationship must be with others when compared to our relationship with Him. Why Jesus would choose such a strong word to illustrate what our relationship to Him is to be like, is something theologians would love to ask Him... but, we are left to ask ourselves one important question: IN THE MIND OF JESUS, WOULD HE THINK MY RELATIONSHIP WITH HIM QUALIFIES ME TO BE ONE OF HIS' DISCIPLES?
Really, when all is said and done, that is what we are left to ponder. Think of the closest relationship right now, in your' life. That person, should be without any hesitation on your part, THE LORD JESUS CHRIST HIMSELF. Everyone else, everyone - should be so distant, so far removed in terms of closeness, that they are not even in the same room figuratively speaking. They should be out of sight, gone, not even n the picture. When Christ is truly the closest relationship in our lives - then without question or doubt - we are in good stead...
JESUS BRINGS DIVISION
Mt.10:34-39 “Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword. 35 For I have come to ‘set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law’; and ‘a man’s enemies will be those of his own household.’37 He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. 38 And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. 39 He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find it.”
The Holy Divide...
Nothing separates people more than Jesus, nothing, and no one other than Jesus requires His' followers to give total allegiance to Himself. Jesus will not "wink" at sin, He will not compromise to be politically correct. Jesus expects total compliance to all who desire to be His' disciple. Jesus asks certain things of those who would follow Him - and they aren't easy. Above all else, Jesus asks for He, and He alone - to be the most important relationship in your' life. Nothing less will do, and nothing less is acceptable. Yes, Jesus loves unity, and being in "one accord", but not at the expense of allowing sin, iniquity, and darkness in to His' church, His' teaching, or His' relationships with you or those He died for.
Following Jesus will cost you and I much, it will mean being rejected, reviled, persecuted, and possibly even dying for our faith in Christ. If you are truly in love with Jesus, and following Him, and keeping His' commandments, don't expect the world to embrace you, don't expect your' unsaved family and friends to look approvingly on your walk with God. If you are in Christ, and walking in the love of God - the devil will be after you, and will try to destroy your' testimony and your life.
We are called to be a light in this dark world, but please know light is not always welcome, and many hate the light, and they will hate you... just know our suffering as Christians in this evil world is but for a moment. Press on, and fight the good fight, and make Jesus number one in all you do, say, and think. Let us go forward in these last days and hold the gospel high, and know our reward is not in this world, nor are we to love it.
What Kind of Relationship?
Remember,everyone has a relationship with God - with Jesus. I do, you do, and yes the devil does too - a very, very bad one. It's not about having a "relationship" with Jesus, it's about the quality, the depth, the intensity and kind of relationship we have with Him? I'll leave you to think about that... The question God asks of you - of me, of everyone is this: What kind of relationship do you have with Jesus? Only you can answer that.
Here in the West, following Jesus costs us little, we are blessed to have the religious freedoms we do enjoy, though that is fast eroding. The days are coming when being a follower of Jesus Christ may not be so easy, when that happens I pray you and I are ready to take a stand. If you are struggling with your commitment to Christ in the good times, what will you do when persecution and trials come?
Mt.7:21-23 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. 22 Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ 23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness! ”
2 Corinthians 6:17 Therefore “Come out from among them And be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean, And I will receive you.”
* The article above is taken from my first book, PEARLS OF WISDOM... to read more stories simply go to Amazon.com and type: pearls of wisdom Michael D'Aigle