Scripture: Matthew 10:34-37 (The Message) “Don’t think I’ve come to make life cozy. I’ve come to cut – make a sharp knife-cut between son and father, daughter and mother, bride and mother-in-law – cut through these cozy domestic arrangements and free you for God. Well-meaning family members can be your worst enemies. If you prefer father or mother over me, you don’t deserve me. If you prefer son or daughter over me, you don’t deserve me.”
In this life, we must make many choices. The toughest choice may be choosing God’s ways over family ways. Family has a strong pull on us. We may not have grown up in a healthy family environment, but family bonds last a lifetime – as well it should. But Jesus makes it clear that we must choose him first over family members. We can’t look back, trying to please family members while trying to lead a life of faith.
When Jesus called the disciples to follow him, brothers Simon and Andrew didn’t ask questions; they simply dropped their nets and followed. Brothers James and John did the same, leaving behind the family fishing business run by their father. Yet when Jesus told the rich man to sell all that he had and follow him, the rich man went away sad, because he had much wealth to give up. When another follower asked to first go bury his dead father, Jesus refused, saying “First things first. Your business is life, not death. Follow me. Pursue life.” (Matthew 8:21-22).
Following Jesus means no compromising, and the first place we might compromise is with family relationships. You cannot appease your children while breaking Kingdom laws. God must come first, and scripture is consistent and clear on this. When I got married a year ago, we were reminded to keep God first in our lives because God is the creator and sustainer of healthy relationships. Husbands and wives are to keep each other above their children, because that’s how you keep a relationship strong. Children pull on our heart strings. God’s word tells us how to make tough decisions.
When your children become teenagers, at some point you will be tempted to let them stop going to church – especially after much grumbling on their part. Don’t do it! When I was struggling with my son not coming to church with me a few years back, my pastor’s wife told me that over the years she had seen many parents force their children to go to church and an equal number succumb to letting their children sleep in on Sundays. She said she had yet to meet a parent who thought they made a mistake by making their children go to church, while she knew countless parents who regretted letting their children choose not to go to church. Choose kingdom things first, so your children will see that you won’t compromise your values.
How does this apply to my life?
Today’s prayer: Lord, help me to be strong in sharing my values with my sons. Help me not to compromise my beliefs with them. Help me to be a good example of Christian living. Amen
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Vol. 3, No. 80
This week’s reading plan can be found at http:/www.oneyearbibleonline.com/june.asp?version=51