Sovereign Lord, from your Word remind me that I am not caught in the grip of circumstances, but secure in your hands.
Read Matthew 10:34–42
34 “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35 For I have come to turn
“‘a man against his father,
a daughter against her mother,
a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law—
36 a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.’[a]
37 “Anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. 38 Whoever does not take up their cross and follow me is not worthy of me. 39 Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it.
40 “Anyone who welcomes you welcomes me, and anyone who welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. 41 Whoever welcomes a prophet as a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward, and whoever welcomes a righteous person as a righteous person will receive a righteous person’s reward. 42 And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones who is my disciple, truly I tell you, that person will certainly not lose their reward.”
- Matthew 10:36 Micah 7:6
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
‘Trust and obey, / for there’s no other way / to be happy in Jesus, / but to trust and obey.’1 What makes it difficult to obey God?
There are more challenging words from Jesus today. We are to love him more than our own parents. He is not asking us to love them less than we do, but is addressing issues of obedience: nothing, not even our parents, should stop us from what God is calling us to do. Tensions between parents and offspring would have been a very real problem for the first believers. Christianity was a new faith and many parents must have been very distressed when family members left their traditional faith. Most of the first Christians were Jews and the fifth commandment to ‘honor your father and your mother’2 would have presented them with a particular dilemma: should they obey parents who wanted them to abandon their newfound faith, or follow Christ? Jesus, however, clearly thought obedience to God trumped obedience to parents.
Even today people are still rejected by their families for turning to Christ. However, for most of us the pressure not to follow God’s will for our lives takes a more subtle form: when their faith sets children on a different path to the norm, families may express concerns about, for instance, wasting a good education, having an insecure financial future or moving too far away from home. Even Christian parents can find themselves doing this. Subtle pressures not to do God’s will can be rooted in damaging comments family members have made over the years too, such as ‘you’ll never amount to much.’ If we still believe words like these rather than trusting in God’s view of us, this can hold us back from doing his will. Have we experienced any of these more subtle pressures not to follow God’s leading in our lives and how have we responded to these?
Pray for those around the world who have been rejected by their families because of their decision to follow Christ. Release International and Open Doors websites have details.
Heavenly Father, keep me firm in my commitment to follow Jesus. I’ve made that choice and I want to re-affirm it every day by the way I live.
1 John H Sammis, ‘Trust and Obey’, 1887 2 Exod 20:12
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