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More Than Life Itself Jan 06 2009


"Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me;" - Matthew 10:37

If Jesus has ever made a scary statement, one that causes me to examine my heart to its very core, it has to be Matthew 10:37. Read the scripture referenced above again. Now that is a stunning statement, one that challenges me to fully comprehend. That is because I love my wife. I love my children. I love my grandchildren and parents and siblings. I even love my in-laws. Because of my deep love for my family, Jesus' statement makes me very uncomfortable. In fact, it terrifies me.

Similar to God's statement to Abraham, Jesus is saying that when it comes to our family members, Christ must be in first place, or else He will be in no place at all when it comes to our lives. As hard as that is to take in, Christ wants to make it clear that if we want to follow Christ, He must be first. The fact is that if we love anyone (or anything) more than Jesus, we are not worthy of Him. And if that's not tough enough, He goes on and says that we must love Him more than we love our own life itself. Jesus sets up high expectations for His followers. Am I willing to meet His expectations? I am, as tough as it is.

How about you?

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Thanks for the reminder that we won't have any genuine love to share if we are not centered on the source of love. First things first. . .

 
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I have a book by R.C. Sproul on "The Hard Sayings of Jesus". With the Sword two days ago, and now with today's topic, we are in that territory. I think that it is very important to take these passages seriously.

Jesus came to redeem his people. We are promised that all who believe in Him will have eternal life with Him. The invitation is often kind, warm and loving - easy enough for a child to understand. But, Jesus also makes very clear that the choice must be absoulute and that a truly changed heart will involve some pain. As I turned from my sinful ways, I was reminded of Psalm 51. David became the 'greatest repenter' as a result of being exposed as the 'greatest sinner'. In this Psalm, you can feel the agony that David feels as he begs God not to leave him or forsake him. Nothing was more important. Even in sin and repentance, David was "a man after God's own heart".

When we truly see our sinful nature and repent, we also go through some agonizing admissions. Only then can the work of the Holy Spirit begin the process of our sanctification. I see today's verse as a reminder that only by seeing and loving Jesus for who He truly is can we then love others. The latter is the fruit of the former.

 
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This Bible verse is indeed challenging. Intellectually I understand what it is saying but on the emotional level I struggle with it because when things are going well with a family there are a lot of warm fuzzy feelings of love and affection and laughing good times that we do not really experience with Jesus in the exact same way. The love we have with Him is somehow on a higher level and yes, it too warms the heart and sometimes there is divine humor but it is hard to compare to what goes on at the human family level. So I guess the emotional tug is considering if I would give up all the joys of family if God required it for His purposes. Intellectually I say yes but emotionally I squirm. It is something to pray over and it also reminds me of all the troops who give up family time to serve a higher cause. God bless you RFTH for making us think.

 
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Janice - What a wonderfully honest and sincere comment. I can see where it might appear that Christ is giving us an "either or" choice. I read it more in the sense of our love priorities. Jesus want for us to love the LORD with all our heart and all our soul and all our mind and all our strengh AND love our neighbor (family) as ourselves. I still thind that the more you love Jesus, the more you can love others.

Bless you for sharing your thoughts.

 

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