A House Divided
Your enemies will be right in your own household! (v.36).
Janice is an attractive woman in her mid-30s. She has looks, friends and a successful career. A few years ago she also became a Christian—to the horror of her atheist father. Since then her visits home have become more and more difficult. Each week her father pummels her with reasons why she should abandon her ‘fairy tale’ faith.
This relentless pursuit of Janice’s de-conversion is not entirely selfish. Janice longs to be married but has decided only to marry a Christian. Her father wants to see his daughter fulfilled and sees her faith as the roadblock. “What you believe is a lie,” he tells her, “and it’s keeping you from marrying available men.” Janice often feels weary.
Jesus was clear about the impact He could have on families. His coming would turn son against father, daughter against mother and divide whole households along the borderlines of belief (Matthew 10:35). “Your enemies will be right in your own household!” He said (v.36). Ironically following the Prince of Peace can result in war.
If division comes, however, Jesus revealed which side we should choose. “If you love your father or mother more than you love Me, you are not worthy of being Mine” (v.37). Only such radical allegiance saves one’s soul and transforms the lives of others. Only this leads to true life (v.39).
I admire my friend Janice. She’s faced the full force of family opposition to her faith and her desires to follow Jesus. She loves her parents, continually weathering their attacks on her beliefs. And although her older sister has had a child and her younger sister is getting married, she continues to wait for a Christian husband while she stays faithful to her first love.
One day she will receive her reward in full.
Read Luke 18:28 to see the reward Jesus promises to those who radically follow Him, and to discover when it will come.
How has your obedience to Jesus caused you to suffer? How do you show that He is a higher priority than your desires?