Wednesday, October 21, 2015

When the Prince of Peace Brings Strife

By Allen White

Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. 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—
a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.’ Matthew 10:34-36

The Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6) didn’t bring peace after all? What? We like the Jesus who calmly soothes our fears. But, this Jesus stirs things up. He says what’s what. What happened to that meek Jesus we all love?

And, why is Jesus predicting all of this strife in family relationships? We understand the tension around in-law relationships. We live that. But, fathers and mothers and families becoming enemies over Christ – that’s hard to understand.
Alphonso is an evangelist in Sierra Leone. He converted from Islam to Christianity. His family didn’t take it so well. In fact, his aunt poisoned him in an effort to kill him. Alphonso survived.

He is bringing the message of Jesus Christ to thousands of Muslims. God is blessing his ministry. His family is not so happy about it.

In Jesus’ day, the turn was from Judaism to the fulfillment of the Jewish law – Jesus Himself. But, if the Jewish people are God’s people, then becoming a Christ-follower meant they were becoming something else. Family heritage, traditions, worship and holidays were all at stake. Becoming a Christian wouldn’t have gone over very well.

For us, most of our families will tolerate our relationship with Christ. But, there are still some tensions. For folks raised Catholic who join Protestant churches, there is tension. For others who grew up in one denomination, then later move to another, there’s also tension. For those who give God one hour a week, there is tension when a family member devotes himself to serving the church or pursues full-time ministry.

Jesus doesn’t want family members to hate each other. But, He does want first place in our life. Our most primary relationship should be our relationship with Christ. Every other relationship
follows behind.

If we put another relationship ahead of Christ, then our commitment to Christ will be compromised. We can only give what another person will allow. We can never give ourselves fully to Christ.

Please understand – this is not an excuse to ignore our families for the cause of Christ. That is out of balance too.

Who has more influence over your life than Christ? Who doesn’t understand your commitment to Christ? Where are you tempted to bend? Who is opposed to your relationship with Jesus?

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