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Spiritual Practice Handouts
Friends in Christ Weekly Message
June 18, 2005
Stand up for me against world opinion and I'll stand up for you before my Father in heaven. If you turn tail and run, do you think I'll cover for you?
Don't think I've come to make life cozy. I've come to cut - make a sharp knife-cut between son and father, daughter and mother, bride and mother-in-law - cut through these cozy domestic arrangements and free you for God. Well-meaning family members can be your worst enemies. If you prefer father or mother over me, you don't deserve me. If you prefer son or daughter over me, you don't deserve me.
If you don't go all the way with me, through thick and thin, you don't deserve me. If your first concern is to look after yourself, you'll never find yourself. But if you forget about yourself and look to me, you'll find both yourself and me.
Matthew 10:32-39 (Message*)
Jesus doesn't preach a "prosperity gospel" whereby if we follow Him, everything will be easy and cosy for us. Rather, He reminds us repeatedly that the going may be very tough for us, in worldly terms, if we are faithful.
Christ warns us here that it may be very difficult to stand up for Him. It may even separate us from members of our own families. It's tempting to take the easy way out, and shrink from living and affirming the Gospel when those we are with will find that offensive. Jesus tells us that this selfish course will not lead to finding ourselves, but rather if we focus on Him we will find ourselves as well as Christ.
We need to regularly and prayerfully examine where our lives show our real priorities are. Are we standing up for Christ in what we say and do even when we expect the reaction will be very negative? As we proceed through life, do we ignore our own selfish interests and go all the way with Christ?
* The Message version ©2002 by Eugene H. Peterson.
©2005 Friends in Christ, Inc.
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Document last modified on Saturday, 25-Jun-2005 14:09:54 EDT