Sometimes you’ll read something in Jesus’ Word, as a baby Christian, that just doesn’t make sense to you. In fact, you might read some things that almost make you sad. I know I did, anyway. Sometimes, it’s as if we’re following Him blindly. But the thing is, we grow, we learn, we experience and we gain wisdom. All that, brought together, culminates in a greater understanding of the Word of God.
Trust me when I say, nothing He ever said or did was to be for anything other than our good. Because, as Romans 8:28 tells us, ALL THINGS work together for good to them that love God.
One of the verse that threw me off, for so long, and with great spiritual weight, was Matthew 10:37-38…
He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me.
Wow! That sounds pretty heavy, doesn’t it? We have to love Jesus more than our parents and our children? According to the Word, we do.
I always thought it meant more than that. That maybe there was some symbolism hidden in there that I might have been missing. In a way, I guess, that’s true. There’s a LOT more there than meets the eye, and He revealed that to me one day when I needed it most.
The hardest thing I’ve ever tried to do is bring my fleshly emotions under control when it comes to my family. I don’t always show it… I’m pretty good at masking many of my thoughts and emotions… but upheaval in my immediate family leaves me in shambles.
One day, after a particularly harsh argument with a close family member, I was shaken to my core. I had let it get the best of me. I allowed my flesh to speak words I didn’t want to speak, and act in ways I didn’t want to act. I’m sure the enemy was nodding in approval by the end of the confrontation, and it led me – quickly – to a place of repentance.
This happened several times in a row, and started not long after we had started attending church regularly. Now, in the past, I would have said things like “Well, if things are getting worse instead of better, what’s the point in going to church? What’s the point in praying?”
Oh, but if I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a million times: the reason things get harder is because it IS working! That’s the point! My Mama use to say, “If the devil ain’t after you, that just means he’s got you,” and the older I get the more sense that makes.
If you are experiencing great opposition and fighting relentless battles, there’s really no mystery at all. It means the enemy KNOWS your blessing is on the way. He knows the good things God is getting ready to pour out on you and through you. And he will do whatever it takes to cause you to veer off the path God has for you!
Which leads us back to that Scripture I never understood…
“Family” is a Whole Different Animal
It’s easy, isn’t it, to put up a good front for most people? We can go to church, even with hell and all its fury raging around us, and wear a smile as nice as the outfit we’ve chosen. Wear it like an ornament! We can do the same with friends, coworkers and acquaintances.
It’s easy to broadcast a facade that doesn’t exactly match “real life” when we’re in situations that call for it. Is it the right thing to do? Well, that’s an entirely different conversation all together. I will suffice it to say, the Shunamite woman did tell the prophet of God that “All is well”, even though her promised son was dead.
When you’re at home, though, it’s easier to take all the formalities off and lay them aside. After all, who knows you better than your kids and your spouse? They know you’re not perfect and they’ll understand if you’re not as pleasant as you are when you’re “out there”…right?
And there you have it, folks. The reason why Jesus said what he said.
Close family, whether it be spouses or children or other immediate members, can take your peace quicker than anyone else in the world. They are closer, they know you better and they’re able to be used by the enemy to “push buttons” that no one else has the familiarity to push. It’s no small wonder, then, that Jesus said what he did in Matthew chapter 10.
Putting Jesus First
When we elevate Jesus into the first place slot in our lives, it means many things. But none will have as great an impact as allowing Him to be first in our own homes. When things come up, as they always, always will, we have to look to Jesus FIRST.
Our close family members can let us down. Not that they are doing anything incessantly wrong, that’s not it at all. But we can often have a picture in our minds of what WE think they should be doing or saying. When their actions don’t meet up with our expectations, we can feel let down, unimpressed and sometimes hurt and angry.
Looking to Jesus first means that we will understand, it isn’t our family members we’re having the problem with at all. Ephesians 6:12, a verse I quote VERY often, says this: For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
We are not at odds with “the person”, we are fighting the spirit behind their words and actions and deeds. If Jesus is in the right place, on the throne of our lives, we’ll know that. If we stay prayed up and allow the Holy Spirit to offer the perfect guidance, we’ll know that. Otherwise, there will be unrest as you’ve never seen it before.
And that was never Jesus’ intent at all.