Will I Follow?

Will I Follow? | Journey of FaithI sat in the church pew on Sunday and watched the video interview of an Ethiopian man share his testimony of how God had brought him to saving faith in Jesus Christ.   Through broken English and poor audio quality, this brother in Christ had my full attention as he shared how his father had been infuriated to learn that he had placed his faith in Jesus years ago.  I listened as he explained that his father had demanded him: “Choose Jesus, or choose me.”  He had chosen Jesus.

The story of this man continued as he spoke of the ensuing suffering he bore for Christ at the hands of his own father.  Over and over again, this man had continued to choose Christ.

Silent in my pew seat, the following verse from Luke 14, verse 26, came alive to me as never before:

If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple.

I had always been confused by the terminology of this verse.  Hate my family?  How does this fit in with other passages that say to “honor your father and mother”?  How does this make sense alongside the second greatest commandment: “love your neighbor as yourself”?

Now, I KNOW this text does NOT mean that I should hate my family.  Scripture, after all, does not contradict itself, although there are several instances that my finite mind cannot wrap itself around, instances that appear to my limited mind as possible contradictions.  The truth is simply this: God is Truth, His Word is Truth, and I am severely limited in my understanding of the infinite, trustworthy God and His Word.

Within the context of this man’s story, however, it finally made more sense to me. The weighty appeal of this passage does not beg me to answer the question of “do I hate my family?”; no, a far more accurate query is: do I love Christ over all others and above all else?

Will I say “yes” to Him and follow Him, no matter the cost?

Do I “count everything as loss compared to the surpassing worth” of knowing Jesus, my Savior and my God (Phil. 3:8)? 

Have I tasted and seen that the Lord is good, that {He} is the source of all joy and the chief end of every delight of mine (Ps. 34:8; Rom. 11:36; Col. 1:16-17; James 1:17)?

The man from Ethiopia had answered yes when he chose Jesus over his father.  Given the same set of circumstances, would I do the same?  Would you?

The question quickly becomes more piercing when asked {this} way: in the circumstances in which I currently find myself – in the here and now – will I choose Christ?  And in every moment of every day, will I – by His grace – choose Him over and over?  Will you?

Gracious and Holy Father, give us abundant, unending tastes and sights of Your goodness; and show us that all else is rubbish when compared to knowing You.  Show us Your infinite worth.

Anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. -Matthew 10:37