34 “Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword. 35 For I have come to ‘set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law’; 36 and ‘a man’s enemies will be those of his own household.’[a] 37 He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. 38 And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. 39 He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find it. Matt 10:34 – 39
Now of course if you just read that first verse someone might think that Jesus was calling for warfare which would seem rightly a littleunusual and as we read on we note that it certainly is not a military conflict Jesus is calling for but IT IS CONFLICT he is saying will come relationally. I am consistently amazed at the continual challenges that Christ gives us.
For me this passage asks a number of questions.In this blog I just want to zone in one verse 35 and the challenge it brings.
1) How Distinct is my life? V 35
Whilst the gospel brings connection and peace with God , the operation of the gospel and the changing values, beliefs and identity in our loves will and should cause 'distinction'. So often Christian struggle to 'be the same' or relevant but our greatest struggle is not really relevance but distinction. Am I different? Am I ready for that distinction to cause relational distinction? The potential for a life to make a difference is found not in its relevance (that should be assumed) but in its distinction.
If you read Micah 7 you will see that Jesus was quoting Micah 7:6. In effect we see in Micah 7 the potential feelings of a person of God and the isolation that can bring but don't worry keep on reading past verse 6.
Verse 7 says
"Therefore I will look to the Lord, I will wait for the God of my salvation; My God will hear me" Micah 7:7 NKJV
Note three things in here
a) "I will look to the Lord" Where is your focus?
b) I will wait for the God of my salvation" - Who/What am I waiting for? What do I practically consider my salvation or deliverance from my circumstances?
c) "My God will hear me" - Do you still trust in his ability and faithfulness to hear you? Circumstances can crush our hopes but he is faithful and will hear.
The results of a distinct Life
a) People will not 'understand' a distinct life (it shows your different values)
In Luke 2:41-49 Jesus as a 12 year stays at the temple - after the confusion in finding him and asking him why he was there. Jesus said that he was about his fathers business but they 'did not understand'. There should be things in our life that are confusing to the understanding of people and offensive to their perspective on life.
b) People will be 'incovenienced' by distinct life (it shows your different priorities)
When was the last time your kingdom priorities inconvenienced the normal plans that people have? It might be as simpleas going to church on sunday instead of the footy. Not watching certain movies etc. which might pull you out of activities with friends? I think you can easily say the call of Christ inconvenienced even his family.
c) People will be 'confronted' by a distinct life (It shows different rulership)
John 3:17 – 21
It is not our place to 'condemn' the world but we need to realise that it is condemning itself and your life should confront that position.
Stand up and you will stand out – stand out and people will ask you to stand down