Leaving all to follow Christ

May 26, 2010


“If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple.”  Luke 14:26

 I love and adore the wife and son the Lord has given me to great lengths.  The affection and love for my wife far surpass my affections for any other on earth.  My dearest son the Lord has chosen to bless me with provokes a spirit of jealousy and covetousness as a male lion defends his cubs because of his vulnerability and my newly found love for him.  I feel I would gladly lose my life for either one of my wife and son because of my love for them (my wife primarily).  Because of the sovereignty of the Lord Jesus, I treasure each moment I spend with them as I know it may be my last.  Because I do not know the minute or hour that I should pass into glory, God has chosen part of the fruit of my labor to be in the mutually transacting love and affection portrayed the immediate family that he has given me.  Although a strong passion to display the glory of God in relationships on earth is part of God’s wisdom and decree, it cannot and should not ever surpass the affectionate love for the savior and pursuance of holy thoughts that comes directly from the eternal throne of grace.

Being a disciple of Christ seems to be a flippant idea tossed to and fro by professing believers and unbelievers alike.  The causality of such ideas seems to have preeminence in contemporary cultural man-pleasing doctrines and thoughts.  The essentials of Christianity and basic biblical doctrine is easily forsaken and gladly replaced with carnal affections and desires.  Rather than seek the meekly wisdom and godly fear of what being a disciple of Christ means, we seek to at least publicly acknowledge that we are disciples of him and privately, however, we concede to our sinful desires that indeed denounce the very implication and profession of being his disciple.  That being said, there is a great deal of joy that can be expressed in the drastic claim of our Lord himself that we must, “hate our mother, father, wife, children, and self,” to be his disciple.

Firstly, we will be married to Jesus Christ for all eternity.  The apostle John states, “Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him glory, for the marriage of The lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready.  And to her it was granted to be arrayed in fine linen, clean and bright, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints (Revelation 19:7-8).”  Although the affections that my wife and children and even family may stir upon my emotions and a spirit of joy, it is not of an eternal kind.  Because I will be eternally married to Jesus Christ and not my wife, only he can provide the sustenance that produces spiritual fruit to worship with a mind that is in preparation for the marriage supper with the Lamb.  While loving my wife as Christ loves the church as I am biblically commanded is indeed a vital part in producing this spiritual fruit, it is nevertheless a preparatory effort for the eternal marriage that my (and my wife’s) soul was created for.  All of those whom God has effectually called in eternity past to be justified and married to him, he knits them in their mother’s womb to be drawn to him at a particular moment while on earth through irresistible mercy, grace and for eternal glory. 

The voice of Christ, therefore, will be or become like no other on this side of eternity and will be perfected when we see him as he is.  The life-giving aroma that effectual grace provides leaves us only to be in desperation of more of it and indeed are caused to covet the source of which it is derived.  “My heart is overflowing with a good theme; I recite my composition concerning the King; My tongue is the pen of a ready writer.  You are fairer than the sons of men; Grace is poured upon Your lips; Therefore God has blessed you forever.  Gird Your sword upon Your thigh, O Mighty One, With Your glory and Your majesty. And in Your majesty ride prosperously because of truth, humility, and righteousness; And Your right hand shall teach You awesome things.  Your arrows are sharp in the heart of the King’s enemies; The peoples fall under You. (Psalm 45:1-5).”

Secondly, only Christ can and will ultimately forgive my sins.  If I discuss matters of crucifying the flesh and its emanations as I participate in heavenly fellowship with the brethren of whom I have great love for, it cannot replace the replenishment that I receive from pure grace that only comes from Christ alone.  In fact, all acceptable connotations from the brethren must direct any sinner to remembrance of the blood that fell from the tree that our savior was hung upon.  If lust has entered the mind and proceeded throughout the flesh, we will be reminded of grace yet again because of the nails that were driven to even allow one to supernaturally overcome sin and temptation.  In the midst of a disagreement with the wife that I love, it is innate knowledge that on the horizon there may or must be the virtue of forgiveness portrayed from one to another and if not both to each other.  But, even if this were to happen, it is only by and through a mere glimpse of the ultimate grace of forgiveness in Christ that must be truly known and experienced prior to my sins being forgiven by my wife or my brother. 

Thirdly, God decreed procreation and family to worship and glorify him in abundant freedom with the love that only stems from his ever-flowing graces that provokes holiness and the realization these graces can only come from him.  It is not as if God, in his infinite perfection and majesty, was in desperate need to create anything.  He lacks nothing.  Creation and procreation are decrees of wisdom that were enacted to display the perfect glory and holiness (among other things) of God on earth.  Due to the presence of sin and thus sinners, any and every family in the history of mankind is naturally tainted and indwelt with sin, ruin, death and hopelessness, apart from grace.    

Because of our lowly state of being and existence of potential self-destruction, the Lord has organized every facet of life to exalt only him as the, “chief among ten-thousand (Song 5:10).”  There is none like him.  The new birth defines and unveils the only grace the universe knows.  In our self-seeking desperation, we are led away from the sting of eternal death and rottenness, where the worm never dies, to the wonders of inexpressible and undeniable grace that supplants eternal life.  A sense of gratefulness is effectually enabled by the spirit in the believer that causes all idols, people, worldliness, sensuality, self-satisfaction and pride to be set aside and put to death so as not to glory in the flesh and this life.  If we are continually putting on the new man and putting off the flesh, then we lose all confidence in anything to do with this world that is promised and guaranteed to pass away along with its lusts (1 John 2:17). 

In conclusion, I believe Luke 14:26 is a verse of perspective from our Lord.  It is not as if we are declared to hate in the most literal sense our fathers, mothers, husbands and wives.  That would directly oppose the great commandment to, “love our neighbor as ourselves.”  Rather, a distinction is being made that our love, subjection, reverence for Christ as savior and Lord over all things, must in all cases supersede our love and affection for family members.  To reiterate, it is clear in the scriptures that relationships serve as and are in fact a conduit of the grace of God to sinners and common men.  However, to divulge, Paul states, “But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ.  Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith;  that I may know Him and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being confirmed to His death, if by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead (Phil. 3:7-11).”

It is not my family or friends to whom I must give an account of my life (2 Corin. 5:10).  It is not my wife that I will be married to in eternity (Matt. 22:30).  Rather, the holy spirit has, in the infinite sense, sealed my soul to respond to Christ alone to know that he provides all things, including a wife, children, family and friends on earth.  For, he created all things by the word of his power.  It is in our subjection to the eternal will of God that in grace we will see his wisdom behind all family and relationships.  When we are in grace, then we must and will consider all things as loss for the sake of knowing and following Christ above everything else.  It is for the imperative sake of our own souls and the glory of Christ.

 photo credit


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