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Friends in Christ Weekly Message
September 7, 2001

You cannot be my disciple, unless you love me more than you love your father and mother, your wife and children, and your brothers and sisters. You cannot come with me unless you love me more than you love your own life. You cannot be my disciple unless you carry your own cross and come with me.
Luke 14:26-27 (CEV*)

This teaching of Jesus certainly sounds very hard. It is a real challenge to us, yet it seems clear that what Jesus is saying is central to the Christian life.

The key, we are told here as well as in a number of other places in scripture, is to put God first. We are to let absolutely nothing be more important in our lives. Everything else must be kept in that context.

We know from the stories in the Bible and stories of the faithful through the ages, if not from our own lives and/or others we personally know, that faithfulness to Christ can lead to death, torture, imprisonment, persecution, ridicule, loss of material well-being, estrangement from family and friends, etc. What can make us willing to endure these possibilities? The answer here is clear - love.

This depth of love is a response to God's love. Christ's love for us goes even beyond that of those around us who love us most. This love is unconditional and never wavers. Further, Christ knows how to treat us with love, what is really best for us, better than any human does. As we grow in understanding of the depth of God's love for us, we become more willing to be faithful in gratitude for that love and in trust that God wants the best for us.

How much do you love Jesus?

Bill Samuel

* Contemporary English Version ©1995 American Bible Society.

©2001 Friends in Christ, Inc.

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Document last modified on Saturday, 27-Dec-2003 11:58:45 EST