November #jammed: Gracious.
Day 311: Thankful for extremity …
“If you want to be my disciple, you must, by comparison, hate everyone else—your father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even your own life. Otherwise, you cannot be my disciple.” Luke 14:26
“I hate -” her little voice declared triumphantly.
“You, what?” I questioned…
“Hate” has never been an acceptable word in our house. When we’re called to pray for our enemies, it seems like a waste of time to wish someone were dead. Which, in extremity, pretty much sums up the meaning of the word.
In today’s verse, Jesus uses “hate” in an exaggerative form to get a good point across. It seems pretty harsh to hate family members, our own kids, and ourselves! But Jesus is trying to show us that when we let go of our grip on the circle of people we tend to depend on more than Him …we are free to follow Him.
Following Jesus is something we do half-way lots of days. We’ll follow Him wholeheartedly down certain roads, but in other areas of our lives we look away. There are some people we run to for advice before Him. There are goals in our lives that we aim for, but haven’t asked Him if they align with His plan. Our parenting tactics are consumed in attaining a sense of control that is not ours to own. They are not ours to own.
Our children are His. Our lives are His. The people in our lives are His. And the plans we have for them and us leave our heads spinning when they are not in line with His will.
God’s will for our lives is important because He loves us perfectly. He sees us as the perfect creation that He made, knowing the full potential of every good thing about us. We can trust Him, because He is just and good. It’s who He is. He wants us to be happy, and loves us unconditionally to the extreme notion that He gave His only Son’s life so that we could come to Him in prayer, and through His Word.
When we gather together, He promises to be in that place with us as we seek Him. When we experience Him, feel His presence, witness His miracles, see His the evidence of His glory …
There’s nothing we can do to trump that. Jesus’ words may seem extreme, but so is our arragance to think that anything we can do or accomplish or understand is greater or better than God. To “hate” everyone …is an extreme way …maybe even a sarcastic way …is to say “it’s really ridiculous to value anyone or anything over God.” It’s silly.
Father, Praise You for the evidence You surround us with of Your Glory and Your Son. Help us to follow You first and always. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Get the conversation started by commenting below, and let’s encourage one another as we face life in 2017 armed with grace!
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