More Challenging Than Most Imagine

“He who is not with Me is against Me, and he who does not gather with Me scatters.” (Matthew 12:30, NKJV)

It is never wise to compromise God’s biblical standards!

 Sobering words to consider for sure … for in the very thought of compromise we are saying His way is not enough or just doesn’t plum with our way of thinking!

To many living in today’s world, there is no such thing as absolute truth.  Everyone by the majority of the world’s standard is entitled to have their own standards, values, and boundaries … their own truth!

We find Jesus making it crystal clear that there is no middle ground, no place of neutrality when it comes to serving Him.  He is to occupy first place in our hearts and lives.  Any place other than first place puts us in a very precarious place … the place of putting self, something, or someone on the throne of our heart.

We cannot afford to think that God will just move over a bit and make space for whoever or whatever!  He is a “jealous” God!

The Apostle Paul would ask the Corinthian brethren, “Shall we provoke the Lord to jealousy?  Are we stronger than He?” (1 Corinthians 10:22)

As one studies their way through the Scriptures, it should become apparent very early in the study that the Lord wants our undivided loyalty and commitment!

As one continues to study their way through the Scriptures it becomes even more apparent that some commands that He issues are difficult commands.  Some are harder than others … but none can be discounted, overlooked, and disregarded.

Jesus knew in advance the high cost that the surrendering of one’s will could be.  And perhaps the hardest one at or near the top of the list pertains to the family.

Yes, we are instructed by the Lord to love our families … husbands and wives … parents and children.  His instructions are clear and understandable on how we are to love, honor, respect, and care for our loved ones.

All of which makes the choice of elevating the Lord ahead of them even more of a challenge.  There is no room for compromise on this point

He absolutely demands preference of His cause to ALL claims of earthly relations.  Either we are in “partnership with Him”“working with Him”“gathering with Him” … or we are not.

Just read and reflect on these recorded words spoken by the Lord Himself,

32 “Therefore whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven. 33 But whoever denies Me before men, him I will also deny before My Father who is in heaven.

34 “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] a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law’; 36 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. (Matthew 10:32-39, NKJV)

We ought to pay attention to the Lord’s opening words in this passage, “Do not think …”  Make no mistake, His intent is to insist that contrary to how men may think … to how we may think … He is to come first!

To understand the value of a soul … your soul … my soul … is to comprehend the Lord’s words recorded in Matthew 16:24-26.

Jesus knew then even as He knows now, all men’s hearts … how we think … what makes us tick!  In the very same way, He knew how it would be in our own lifetime … there will be times … when a conflict of no small value can and will arise! He has the advantage of knowing how all things will end!

And my friends … when we are faced with choosing the pleasing of … the feelings of our own family … OR choosing to serve the Lord (and those times do come ready or not) … we must settle our choice ahead of time!

We can try and massage it … get around it … rationalize it … but it is still there. First Place!

This is exactly why this command of the Lord has and will continue to be one of the most exacting, challenging, and difficult decisions to make.

We don’t need to make a list of where these conflicts appear in our lives do we.  We know!  God gave us the ability to think, to reason, and to decide when He created us with free will.

We can and do become so preoccupied with earthly relationships that we can lose sight of the most important of all relationships.  So when doctrinal differences arise … whose side are we on?

I have personally witnessed brothers and sisters in Christ … ones who had been strong in the faith … weaken and compromise their faith when family challenges arose!  Shock … disappointment … more heartache!

I love my family … all of my family … and would do absolutely anything for any one of them … EXCEPT lose my soul by being more mindful of their feelings and circumstances and keeping our relationship the way things have always been, rather than following Jesus Christ.

The very best thing that we can do for our families is to lead them to follow Jesus above all.  “… Show us how to increase our faith.” (Luke 17:5, NLT)

 Bill Fairchild, Jr.

P.S. So … how is your daily Bible study going?

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