Wednesday, April 23, 2014
How Radical Are you Willing to Be?
Matt. 10:34 ¶ “Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth; I have not come to bring peace, but a sword.
Matt. 10:35 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;
Matt. 10:36 and one’s foes will be members of one’s own household.
Matt. 10:37 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;
Matt. 10:38 and whoever does not take up the cross and follow me is not worthy of me.
Matt. 10:39 Those who find their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it.
Jesus knew that living life in the kingdom was something incredibly radical. He also realized that most people would not be prepared for what it meant to be such a radical follower of Jesus Christ. Service in the kingdom meant that there would be discord among the societal systems. Typically the father made all the decisions regarding the religious affairs of the entire household. Should a young person decide to follow Christ, there would no longer be peace within that family unit. It meant that a young person may actually choose to make a decision that did not align with that of a pagan parent. The consequences of this were deadly. It helps you understand why Jesus said, “one’s foes will be members of one’s own household.” Young people who followed Christ would have to suffer at the hands of their family members who disowned them.
But Jesus also talked about the reverse. If you loved your parent and the security of the family structure more than him, then you couldn’t be a member of the kingdom. Why? Because you would be submitting to authority of your parents and their decisions regarding faith above Christ.
Pick up your cross and submit to the authority of the kingdom and follow Christ. This was the radical call of Christianity. Hanging onto the material world and its systems and structures would result in death eternally, while those who followed Christ would find their lives in him.
The life of a true Christian is not for wimps! Somehow I think that we have lost sight of the fact that we are being called to a radically different way of life in which Christ is everything. Maybe we have made Christianity too easy in certain parts of the world. It became a part of the fiber of culture and so there was no call to take a stand against mother or father or the security systems of life. Instead Christianity became culture itself. But that’s not a life of radical commitment in the kingdom and that’s Jesus’ expectation for us.
To place this Scripture in today’s context, it would be mean to evaluate even those places that have been called “Christian” and determine whether they truly are or not. Sadly too many of my peers have left the faith because there was an inconsistency between what was in the Scriptures and taught in church and what they saw at home. Parents did not live out a life of radical obedience to Christ and so their children were turned away from the faith. Jesus was calling the believers of the first century out of the comfort zone of the culture. Even if the culture calls itself “Christian” we are still called out of the comfort zone of that culture.
Unless we are willing to submit to Christ in all things, we will find ourselves with nothing. Carrying the cross of Christ is to publicly submit to his kingdom. There can be nothing half-way about that.
If we are hanging onto the things of our culture — even our Christian culture — that may be keeping us from radical submission to Christ, we will lose our life. Followers in the kingdom are asked to serve at a level of radical obedience where day by day the world is able to see us carrying the cross of Christ and know that we are his.
Lord, please help me to keep from being lulled into the “good” things of this world. Amen.