Thin No More
Thin – or shallow – Christianity is the greatest enemy of the kingdom of God. This is why Jesus was so determined to warn us that following him is never a casual affair. It is aln all-in, all-or-nothing proposition. To be half a Christian is to be half a child of hell. To be a whole Christian, we must carry a cross on which we crucify daily the sins that litter our lives, until our old life is forgotten, done away with, cast aside forever – and our new, amazing, glorious and awesome life with Jesus as our master takes hold.
Our affection for Christ must be greater than our affection for anything or anyone else.
The word “hate” in today’s passage is an intentional exaggeration. Jesus isn’t saying we must be hate-filled people – that would contradict everything else he taught. No, he is saying that our love for God must be so strong that in comparison, every other affection we have will seem like hatred. When Jesus calls us to “hate” mother, father, and our own flesh, he means that we must love the call of God and his offer of an incredible new life more than we love father or mother, more than even our own flesh.
Five times in Matthew, Mark, and Luke Jesus says we must take up our cross and follow him. Do you think he means it?
Our baggage is what keeps us out of the kingdom. In the kingdom, the baggage of family, the baggage of marriage, the baggage of possessions – all such things – are not needed nor are they allowed. They serve only to divide our affections, and therefore they must be nailed to the cross.
There will be no marriage in heaven, and therefore there will be no families as we know them on earth: there will only be children of God. When Jesus calls us to the radical new way of loving enemies and hating family, he is simply stating that every human being must be regarded equally, as children of God, no matter who they are in relation to us according to the old ways of the flesh.
“And we know that our old being has been put to death with Christ on his cross, in order that the power of the sinful self might be destroyed, so that we should no longer be the slaves of sin.” (Romans 6:6 - TEV)
”So get rid of your old self, which made you live as you used to—the old self that was being destroyed by its deceitful desires. Your hearts and minds must be made completely new, and you must put on the new self, which is created in God’s likeness and reveals itself in the true life that is upright and holy.” (Ephesians 4:22–24 - TEV)
“But now you must get rid of all these things: anger, passion, and hateful feelings. No insults or obscene talk must ever come from your lips. Do not lie to one another, for you have taken off the old self with its habits and have put on the new self. This is the new being which God, its Creator, is constantly renewing in his own image, in order to bring you to a full knowledge of himself.” (Colossians 3:8–10 - TEV)
No prize is given for starting a race – only for finishing.
“As for us, we have this large crowd of witnesses around us. So then, let us rid ourselves of everything that gets in the way, and of the sin which holds on to us so tightly, and let us run with determination the race that lies before us. Let us keep our eyes fixed on Jesus, on whom our faith depends from beginning to end. He did not give up because of the cross! On the contrary, because of the joy that was waiting for him, he thought nothing of the disgrace of dying on the cross, and he is now seated at the right side of God's throne.
“Think of what he went through; how he put up with so much hatred from sinners! So do not let yourselves become discouraged and give up. For in your struggle against sin you have not yet had to resist to the point of being killed. Have you forgotten the encouraging words which God speaks to you as his children?
“‘My child, pay attention when the Lord corrects you, and do not be discouraged when he rebukes you.’” (Hebrews 2.1-5 - GNT)
Salt only loses its potency when mixed with weaker elements.
“..sin is crouching at your door. It wants to rule you, but you must overcome it.” (Genesis 4.7b)
"It is not right for you to be proud! You know the saying, 'A little bit of yeast makes the whole batch of dough rise.' You must remove the old yeast of sin so that you will be entirely pure. Then you will be like a new batch of dough without any yeast, as indeed I know you actually are. For our Passover Festival is ready, now that Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. Let us celebrate our Passover, then, not with bread having the old yeast of sin and wickedness, but with the bread that has no yeast, the bread of purity and truth." (1 Corinthians 5.6-8)
Prayer for an Undivided Heart
Consider the cost of building a tower
It's a narrow way that you must come
For to do the will of the Father
Is to follow the Son
Will you love Him more than father or mother?
Will you love Him more than even your own flesh?
To give all that you are, for all that He is
This is the gospel according to Jesus
(Steve Camp - Consider the Cost)