Monday, June 6, 2016

Hating my father?

Now great multitudes went with Him. And He turned and said to them, “If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple. And whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple.” (Luke 14:25-27)

A very challenging passage indeed where one is told to hate those we instinctively love?!  Yet such is not quite what it seems. What is it to hate...
your father,
your mother,
your wife,
your children,
your siblings,
your own life?

Any one of these might be answered slightly differently, but taken together – in light of the last (to hate one's own life), it carries a more broadened understanding of the term. Paul in Ephesians 5:29 tells us something revealing, “For no one ever hated his own flesh but nourishes and cherishes it just as the Lord does the church

Without getting into the minutiae of Paul's argument we can gather at least this much, to hate one's own body is antithetical to our nature. Jesus sums up his reference to hate in the phrase “one's own life” because it is one's life we naturally care for first. In Paul's illustration, speaking of the marriage of man and wife, such a natural love of self is powerfully changed to a love for one's wife which illustrates itself by Christ and the church (or ought to!)

So Christ is asking us, ‘Are we prepared to give up even life for his sake?’ Then you can be my disciple. Paul is really saying the same thing.  As Christ was willing to give up his life for the church so a man must give up everything for his wife.

And whoever does not bear his cross and come after me cannot be my disciple.”

We've considered hating one's own self as a requirement for discipleship. This hatred is a giving up everything for the Lord, even including one's own life because he loves his Lord.

Now we ask, “What is bearing my cross for the Lord? What is being a disciple?” The term disciple simply means a learner, a student. Therefore a student of Christ studies... Christ!  No rocket science here! Such an act, if one takes it seriously however, is actually a cross bearing - for Christ is no mere prophet – but the God-man – yes indeed a man, but the God-man, deity in the flesh.

Such a Subject of study cannot ever be exhaustively known by finite man. It will take everything one has. You will sacrifice the whole of your being to get to know Him. And when you begin to grasp the smallest part of him, at once you will see the job is beyond every faculty of your mind and strength. You will give up everything to know him but a very little, and yet it will bring the greatest of blessings! Yet it is a blessing which cannot be appreciated by others who have not given it all as you have. Therefore the very act of getting close to Him separates you from father and mother, brother and sister, son and daughter – from all who will not invest such as you must. It is like Moses when he had been up the mountain – he was feared by all for his face glowed because he had become a student, a follower of the Most High (Ex. 34:35). On the human side it is a lonely study, for few give up as needed to know Him. Yet to those who do, Life, even Abundant Life!

Oh, Lord - help me drive out all that which separates me from You that I may know You and the fellowship of Your suffering, yes even Philippians 3:10, “That I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death.

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