Tuesday, April 23, 2013
I Love You More!
I Love You More!
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 up the cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Those who find their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it.
Jesus is sending out the disciples to travel from village to village among the Jews sharing about the kingdom. What kind of a message are they to bring? It really comes down to what God has always said to the Israelites. They are to remember the Shema...."Hear Oh Israel, The Lord your God, The Lord is one." There were never, ever, to be any gods before the God of all creation!
Jesus knew that there were things that people might consider good that had taken over the place of God in the lives of his people. This included the love of family members, or family life. That is why he told them to preach that whoever loves a family member more than God is not worthy of God. Taking up a cross meant being willing to stand against the Roman culture and getting in line with kingdom culture. This is God's plan for how we truly find life!
A dear friend, Dr. Diane Leclerc has spent a great deal of time and research looking at the issues of original sin. For so long we have heard about pride being the source of original sin, however Leclerc asserts that it is actually idolatry. Whenever anything becomes an idol in our lives, whenever something becomes more important than God, then this thing becomes an idol for us. Jesus knew this to be true and today's Scripture is a reminder of the things that become idols in the lives of individuals, even today.
Over and over I hear pastors these days talk about the greatest threat to the church is children's sports. There was a time when Sundays were sacred and we didn't play sports on Sundays but now, not only do we play on Sundays, we play on Sunday morning. One pastor said that he has a large extended family in his church and when one child is in a wrestling tournament 30 people will be gone that day! What have we done? I'm afraid we have turned the sport, and that child into an idol.
When we begin to use family and relationships for an excuse to not let God be first in our lives we have succumbed to idolatry. This was true in Jesus' day and he knew it was a problem. For us to be completely sold out to Jesus Christ we must be willing to be counter cultural and put Christ first in all things. Does this mean that we don't love, care for, or support our children? Never! But we learn a healthy balance in which Christ still has first place and we refuse to allow the things of the world to dominate and control our lives. And let's be honest, most of these kids will only play their sport for a few years (few become pros) and then they will move on with life. Will they miss out on learning about Jesus during their formative years because they were too busy playing a game? Will parents miss out on a deeper walk with Jesus over watching a game? I know it's a touchy subject but Jesus is asking, what do you love more...your child, or me?
My husband and I are often traveling in different directions and we love to keep in touch by texting. We often end the day by saying "I love you more!" You see, I am deeply in love with my husband and I want him to know how much I love him. However, I have to confess at I love Jesus even more. Through the years I have learned that I can trust him to put him first...and I love Jesus, even more. What about you?
Oh, how I love Jesus!