Summary: For some Christians in the world today, the choice concerning family is a different one, especially in some parts of the Muslim world. Battle lines are drawn and it becomes a CHOICE BETWEEN FAMILY AND CHRIST. Becoming a Christian means certain OSTRACISM b
Part 18 - Matthew 10:37-42 - MY FAMILY IS ACTING LIKE THEY BELONG TO A CULT!
We came to Sydney to live from the beautiful Whitsundays. Why would anyone leave the Whitsundays and come to the big city? We were Pastors of a great Church of people we had come to love. We had been there for 10 years.
Our primary reason for moving was that we were too far away from the grandchildren. We wanted to play a part in their lives, rather than have to commute every 6 months for a week here and a week there. We had the conflict of whether we stay with a Church and in a location that we loved or whether we move closer to the FAMILY. Family won. We knew that wherever we lived we would serve the Lord, so that wasn't an issue.
For some Christians in the world today, the choice concerning family is a different one, especially in some parts of the Muslim world. Battle lines are drawn and it becomes a CHOICE BETWEEN FAMILY AND CHRIST. Becoming a Christian means certain OSTRACISM by their family (see part 16 of Matthew 10).
Unbelieving family members can become like a CULT applying pressure in the form of PSYCHOLOGICAL AND PHYSICAL ABUSE. A family member who gives his or her life to Christ can face the possibility of death, and the certainty of rejection. One woman family member demanded that I change her husband back after he had become a Christian.
A spiritual war ensues and a choice needs to be made concerning allegiance in this spiritual battle. I must answer the question, "What will I do now? l love my family but I also love Christ! To whom do I owe my allegiance!" What an awful choice, but it is one that every person must make! Our love for our family will not diminish but the question comes down to "Who and what do I love the most?"
In Matthew 10:37, 40 (NLT) Jesus says "If you love your father or mother more than you love Me, you are not worthy of being Mine; or if you love your son or daughter more than Me, you are not worthy of being Mine."..."Anyone who receives you receives Me, and anyone who receives Me receives the Father who sent Me." The choice is clear, though heartbreaking for some. Having your family reject you is not easy. MY ALLEGIANCE AND LOVE AS A CHRISTIAN IS TO CHRIST. My love for my family is given a new perspective as He becomes PRE-EMINENT in my life.
In order to become a Christian I need to reason, think critically, and pray for God's help, and then be willing to step out in faith, but when it all comes down to it, there is NO SITTING ON THE FENCE. It involves a CHOICE. What is your choice?
In Matthew 10:32-33 (NLT) He says "Everyone who acknowledges Me publicly here on earth, I will also acknowledge before My Father in heaven. But everyone who denies Me here on earth, I will also deny before My Father in heaven.
Being ACKNOWLEDGED BEFORE GOD THE FATHER sounds pretty good to me! NOT BEING THROWN INTO HELL sounds pretty good too (Matthew 10:15, 28). Philippians 1:29 (NLT) says "For you have been given not only THE PRIVILEGE OF TRUSTING IN CHRIST but also THE PRIVILEGE OF SUFFERING FOR HIM." Matthew 10:22 (NLT) "And all nations will hate you because you are My followers. But everyone who endures to the end WILL BE SAVED." Hey, it's worth it! SHORT TERM PAIN, LONG TERM GAIN - peace with God now despite my circumstances and eternal life as well.
Persecution and rejection! A Cross, death, family turned against you? Doesn't sound all that rewarding, Lord!
I'm not trying to be a MARTYR but I'm also not trying to give the impression that in becoming a Christian there is not a sacrifice or that it guarantees an easy life. The rewards of trusting in Christ will not guarantee that my life will be a breeze, no tough situations to deal with, everything easy.
When I became a Christian it wasn't because I thought I would be immune to living life in a sinful world. I may not be immune but with the sword that Christ came to bring I can CONQUER the world's influence (Matthew 10:34). And I can only have VICTORY over it because I have Christ in my life to wield that sword. He tells me to "Take heart for I have OVERCOME THE WORLD" (John 16:33 NLT). He says I am more than a conqueror in Christ (Romans 8:37).
In Matthew 10:39 (NLT) Jesus says "If you cling to your life, you will lose it; but if you give up your life for Me, you will find it." The key to living life on earth is receiving Christ as our Lord and Saviour. The key to handling pressure in this life is not compromise in terms of your allegiance. It is standing firm in your resolve to trust in the Lord Jesus Christ and come under His authority and direction no matter what the world throws at you. It is finding VICTORY over every circumstance in this life IN HIM.
God bless you Church as you live for Christ today without compromise, no matter what the circumstances.