I’ve recently been pondering a number or quotations from Jesus that strike a sour note in our modern world… a few examples…
Luke 14:15-27 Large crowds were traveling with Jesus, and turning to them he said: “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters—yes, even his own life—he cannot be my disciple. And anyone who does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.
Luke 21:17 – All men will hate you because of me.
John 12:25 – The man who loves his life will lose it, while the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.
There are others, but these should suffice to highlight some observations I’ve been making recently…
- From what we know of Jesus and His teachings and character, He’s not advocating that we hold bitter animosity toward our families… He’s pointing out the degree of devotion we should have toward Him in comparison. Extreme language is used because extreme devotion is at issue. Clearly, we should love and be committed to Him more than any other relationship. And I think at least PART of what Jesus is meaning is that we can’t be afraid of losing the affection of those close to us if that loss comes as a result of our affection for Him.
- In our culture of the “politically correct” we have come to be hyper-sensitive to the “feelings” of others. I’m not saying we should go around intentionally hurting people, but I think that the motives behind our hesitance to speak the truth is at times motivated by a desire to keep things peaceful with others – Christian and non-Christian. Our speech should always be appropriate to the situation, seasoned with salt as it were if that’s appropriate, but we should be bold enough to speak against wrong, injustice, inaccurate views of scripture, etc. as the Lord leads WITHOUT fear of losing a relationship. Jesus said that may be just what happens – and we need to learn how to be O.K. with that if it does.
- Even our own lives are insignificant in comparison to life in Christ. I know, I know – that’s a religious phrase that has little meaning to many, but it’s the only phrase that fits. Our life “in Christ” (the new life we have, provided by His death and resurrection, energized by His Holy Spirit, free from slavery to sin, alive to God, full of zeal to do HIS will) is of such value and is intended to be FOR such a great purpose (to reveal the glory of God and His Son Jesus Christ), that we should never for a moment consider that our earthly lives matter in comparison. Jesus said that when we cling to what is earthly we run the risk of losing what is eternal.
Thoughts to ponder on the journey… I’m eager to hear any responses…
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