Our Family, Our Enemies?

Matthew 10:34-36 ESV

“Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. And a person’s enemies will be those of his own household.”

We can’t take everything at face value and assume we know what it means. Some things are written more metaphorically and so we have to look at the deeper meaning behind what is being said. This is one of those passages of Scripture. For Jesus did not come here to get us to hate and to turn against one another. For we read this in Galatians 5:14-15 ESV:

“For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ But if you bite and devour one another, watch out that you are not consumed by one another.”

Okay, since we understand that we are to love one another, not bite and devour each other, then we must interpret Jesus’ words here accordingly. So, what could Jesus have possibly meant by his words? In what way possibly might he set family members, one against another? Why did Jesus’ brothers turn against him? It was because of who he was, and what he was about, and what he stood for, and what he did, and what he said.

And now we are getting at the crux of the matter. When we align ourselves with Jesus Christ and with his teachings, and with the teachings of the New Testament Apostles who spoke under the authority and inspiration of God, and when we walk according to the ways of the Lord, in obedience to his commands, in holiness and righteousness, in the power and wisdom of God, even some of our family members may hate and/or turn against us.

And you know what? It is never easy to be opposed or to be fought against or to have people hate us and speak evil to us and/or against us. But when it is strangers who do this, it is much easier to dismiss, especially if they are not a part of our lives. But when family members do this, it is a lot harder, for it is far more personal. For we want to have good relationships with our family members, and we hope they will love us and that they will be happy for us and support and/or encourage us, but that is not always the case.

Sometimes our fiercest opponents will be members of our own families, like Jesus experienced. Especially as we draw closer to the Lord in our walks of faith, and we become less like the people of the world, and we become more serious about living holy lives in moral purity and in uprightness, if we have family members who are not Christians or who are living worldly lives, although they may be professing faith in Jesus Christ, they may still oppose us and/or they may just ignore us or shun us. And that can be painful.

Matthew 10:37-39 ESV

“Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.”

Jesus said that if we want to come to him we need to know up front, basically, that it means we must deny self, and we must take up our cross daily (die daily to sin and to self) and follow (obey) him. For, he says, if we try to save our old lives (hold on to living in sin and for self), we will lose our lives for eternity. But if for his sake we lose our lives (die to sin and to self), then we will save our lives for eternity (See Luke 9:23-26).

When we believe in Jesus Christ with God-given faith, we die with him to sin and we are raised with him to walk in newness of life in him, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. Now we belong to God. We are his possession. And he is our Lord (Owner-master). So now he is to take first place in our lives above all else, including above our family members, including our spouses and our children.

Jesus is to have first place in our lives. And this may cause us to have to choose between him and our family members, especially if our family members disapprove of us and of our faith in Jesus Christ and our walks of obedience to our Lord. And this may mean us having to make decisions about our lives and our practices that may not meet with approval of all of our family members. And so we should be prepared to be rejected.

In America, if you are brought up in a family who does not object to the idea of God and of Jesus Christ and of the Holy Bible (Genesis to Revelation), then you are most likely not going to experience the severe persecution that Christians have had to endure in other nations and/or in families who have a faith other than the Christian faith, for ever since Jesus died and rose again.

But, if you commit your life to the Lord wholeheartedly, and you make Jesus first in your life, and you choose to walk in his ways and in his truth and to follow what the Scriptures teach (New Covenant) without compromise, and so you are sharing the truth of the gospel with others, and you are teaching on moral purity and integrity and on walks of obedience to the Lord, and you are calling out the lies and the liars who are leading God’s people astray, and so you are exposing the fruitless deeds of darkness, and you are teaching on repentance, obedience, and submission to Christ as Lord, then expect to be rejected, opposed, and persecuted even by professing Christians. And some of these may be your family members.

And then you will have to make a choice to continue to go with God and to follow Jesus in wholehearted devotion to his calling on your life or to compromise your beliefs and practices in order to be acceptable to your friends, family members, and other people who profess faith in Jesus Christ. If you choose Jesus, then you have to accept the fact that even your family members may turn away from you and not be supportive of you and they may not consider that what you are doing is Christian because they have the wrong idea of what Christianity is supposed to look like.

So, we have a choice, but if we choose the acceptance of other humans over 100% commitment to Christ as Lord of our lives, then Jesus said we are not worthy of (deserving, befitting, corresponding to) him. And this is not a casual statement he made here. What he means is that we will not be one of his disciples, and we will not be in fellowship with him, and we will not inherit eternal life. We can’t vacillate back and forth between serving Jesus and pleasing humans. We either serve Jesus or the flesh. We can’t do both.

And this isn’t about sinless perfection here. This is about us making a choice between the world (the flesh, other humans) and submission to Christ as Lord. For we are slaves to whomever we obey. If we obey sin, it ends in death, but if we obey obedience, it leads to righteousness and to sanctification, and its end is eternal life. For we are all going to reap what we sow. If we walk according to the flesh, we will die in our sins, but if we walk according to the Spirit, we will have eternal life with God.

So, we need to take this to heart. Being a Christian is not a casual matter. We can’t just profess faith in Jesus Christ and then continue to live like the world, talk like the world does, and do all the same things the world does. Jesus called us to be holy, to be set apart (unlike, different) from the world because we are being conformed to the likeness of Christ, if indeed we are. And he called us to submit to him as our Lord (owner-master). So don’t play around with this. God means business.

[Lu 9:23-26; Jn 6:35-58; Jn 15:1-11; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; Eph 4:17-24; 1 Pet 2:24; 1 Co 6:9-10,19-20; 2 Co 5:10, 15; Tit 2:11-14; Jas 1:21-25; Rom 12:1-2; Eph 2:8-10; Php 2:12-13; Col 1:21-23; Gal 5:16-21; Eph 5:3-6; Gal 6:7-8; Rom 2:6-8; Heb 10:26-27; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Matt 7:21-23; Rev. 2-3; Rev 18:1-6; Rev 21:8, 27; Rev 22:14-15]

He Lifted Our Burdens

An Original Work / February 15, 2014
Based off Isaiah 9:2-7

People walk in darkness.
They abide in their sin.
It has power o’er them.
True belief escapes them.

Jesus Christ came to save them.
He gave His life up for them;
Crucified; died for our sin,
So we might be forgiven,
And have life up in heaven.

Many come to know Him.
God’s love now o’erflows them.
They rejoice in vict’ry.
Their sin is but hist’ry.

We were once bound in slav’ry.
Jesus lifted our burdens;
Set us now free from Satan,
So we now walk in freedom.
Sin has no more dominion.

Praise be to our Savior!
He showed us His favor.
He took all our burdens;
Cast them all upon Him.

He is our mediator;
The Light which shines in darkness.
Counselor in our troubles;
He gives peace now in our hearts;
Joy which is everlasting.

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