I received lots of feedback from last weekend’s article, which is great; it means some folk actually read these things (which makes me smile). Most comments and questions were related to the verse and the “kingdom” phrases included in the excerpt below:
The woman gave testimony to a long and vibrant relationship with Jesus. But I pondered her understanding of this verse:
“If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters – yes, even his own life – he cannot be my disciple.” (Luke 14:26)
I wondered if she ever considered that it may possibly be important, in ways she may never understand, for her to stay in the marriage for the sake of the kingdom of God? That “Seek first the kingdom of God” may result in an entirely different attitude and perspective for decision-making? And that her drive to divorce may be more about loving her own life than following Jesus?
Please allow me to share my response to most of the feedback:
This is a season in the ministry of Jesus when He begins to challenge the followers of convenience. He wants them to clearly understand that to truly be His disciple implies loving Him more than anyone else — including ourselves — and that there will be a cost. And the love must be so deep and strong that the love we actually have for family (for example) looks like hate in comparison. (similar to this: a blazing hot day in Orlando is cold compared to sitting on the planet Mercury. 100 degrees is hot but not when compared to hundreds of degrees)
Should the woman in my article divorce her husband? I don’t know. But this I do know: this woman assumes (as many of us do) that what Jesus might ask of her for the sake of the kingdom would rarely diminish her comfort or even actually cause discomfort. This would be a hard conversation to have with the martyrs in the Middle East and Asia or in the first century church.
Bottom line question: am I willing to follow Jesus anywhere He leads because my love for Him and obedience to Him is greater than all other loves, even that love I have for myself and my well-being?
Consider with me this extraordinary and challenging portion of scripture:
“All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance. And they admitted that they were aliens and strangers on earth. People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. Instead, they were longing for a better country – a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.” (Hebrews 11:13-16)
Let’s live on the edge this week: “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”