People can be selfish and driven by materialistic desires. Jesus is challenging us here. If we deny him, he will deny us. On the flip side, and this is the side I’d rather be on, for those who publically acknowledge Jesus, he will acknowledge them. It sounds kind of like, “if you scratch my back I’ll scratch yours.” There is more to it than that.
As a follower of Christ, we know he is the only way to the Father. It isn’t by anything we can do or say. We are given the choice of being quiet or speaking out. I believe God will place opportunities in our path to act. We have all missed out on these divine appointments by choosing to be quiet. Don’t you wish you could go back and have a do-over sometimes?
We have been brought up in a society who has frowned on Christianity. It seems like other religions can speak out just fine, and some are even “coddled.” I’m not sure when that started because the country I grew up in (United States) was founded on Christian values. But now we hear how it’s best to be “politically correct.” Religion and politics are two hot button topics that most people stay away from to be ‘safe’.
We will face our own judgment day when we go before our Heavenly Father and give an account for our actions. Will he understand our wanting to be safe? I want so much for him to tell me I’ve been a good and faithful servant. (Matthew 25:23) For that to happen, I need to up my game here on earth and be more devoted. One way to show my devotion is to share it with others.
But Jesus’ own words in this reading give us reason to be hesitant. He says he didn’t come to bring peace but instead he brought the sword. For war? Perhaps, but more likely to separate the followers from the non-followers. There will be no gray area. That alone will cause division in families.
Jesus warned us about that. Do we love our families more than we love Jesus? He says if we do, we are not worthy of him. That’s harsh, isn’t it? But that’s what he wants from us, our full attention, our true devotion. When we are truly devoted, when we give up everything for Jesus, that’s when we actually find our life. Are you there yet?
There must be a cross before there can be a crown. We must not refuse to take up our cross. Life is full of making sacrifices, taking risks, being ridiculed, all while following the light. It’s time for us to realize what following Jesus looks like and how we can be better followers. Jesus is preparing his disciples, and us, in these passages to be prepared for the world in which we are to minister.
We certainly have access to all the blessings and promises found in Scripture. We also have the hardships to endure as well. It’s not all sunshine and roses. We are not blind to the realities that face believers. I am thankful for that. We can be prepared for battle, so to speak.
In closing, here’s a quote from Jim Elliot, “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.” You cannot lose anything, that God will not reward you.
Let’s pray. Lord, I know that being your follower can lead to a life of sacrifice and hardship. At the same time, there is peace and joy for what is to come to keep me going. Help me be the best I can be at following you, listening to you, and becoming more like you. I have come so far, and I look forward to each encounter with you, each quiet moment, each new revelation you give. Help me to be still and open to receive. In Jesus’ name. Amen.