Sunday, May 23, 2010

But A Sword

Think Not

"Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. And a man's foes shall be they of his own household." Matthew 10:34-36

Too many times, our ideas about God stem from the corrupt desires in our own hearts. We make God into someone who justifies our feelings and does what we want Him to do. The same standard people use to define "love" in the world is applied to God: If it caters to what I like, what I think, and what I want - if it exalts me and makes me feel good - then it is God.

This is a false understanding. God says that love is obedience to His commands; anything else is counterfeit. Love has absolutely nothing to do with how something makes you feel. We must walk away from our perceptions about God that have no basis in truth; and this is one such notion.

The same God who said that He is the Prince of Peace said that He came not to bring peace, but a sword. The same Savior who said to honor your mother & your father said that He has come to set at odds a man from his parents.

ALL of Scripture is God-inspired and there are no contradictions therein. So then, how does the above text fit into our image of a loving, caring, peaceable Father God? Because God's ways & thoughts are higher than our own. His understanding of what brings peace & honor is not what we assume it to be. We attain peace by being reconciled to God. We honor our parents when we are doing the will of our Father. Anything that gets in the way of those things Jesus will cut off or separate us from.

This may come as a shock to some, but God's priority is not to bring or keep families together. This doesn't mean that God doesn't care about our families. I am saying that God's objective is to bring people into HIS family.

People often say that blood is thicker than water. NOT according to God! Consider the following:

"While he [Jesus] yet talked to the people, behold, his mother and his brethren stood without, desiring to speak with him. Then one said unto him, Behold, thy mother and thy brethren stand without, desiring to speak with thee. But he answered and said unto him that told him, Who is my mother? and who are my brethren? And he stretched forth his hand toward his disciples, and said, Behold my mother and my brethren! For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother." Matthew 12:46-50

Jesus' mother and his brothers stood outside of a house while Jesus was teaching inside, and they desired to speak with Him. Now I don't know about you, but in my family, ignoring such a request would have been considered a huge offense, a sign of disrespect. Many would consider such as being disobedient to the command to honor our mother and father. Yet, we are speaking here of Jesus Christ, the one who never sinned.

Not only did Jesus not stop what He was doing and heed the request of His mother & brothers, He seems to add insult to injury. He asks, "Who is my mother? Who are my brothers?" Jesus then states that whosoever does the will of His Father is "the same" as His brother, sister, and mother.

Now how many mothers or fathers would be able to receive this? Keep in mind here, I am not speaking of children, who are clearly called to obey their parents. I am speaking of what it means to be an adult honoring your parents.

Too many times, people twist the word of God to suit their own agendas, keeping people in bondage to themselves. In an attempt to be "Godly", we then subject ourselves to things that we should not because we do not understand God's view in a matter. One example of this is the Roman Catholic Church's exaltation of Mary. Much of their erroneous doctrine about Mary comes from this place of "honoring" Jesus' mother. "It only makes sense", they often say, "to honor Mary in this way, because she is Jesus' mother."

Yet, according to Jesus Christ, blood is not thicker than water. Those who have been born again by water and Spirit are due the same type of honor we would bestow upon our earthly mothers & fathers. Jesus specifically states that those who do the will of the Father are the same as His mother. So where then is the justification for exalting Mary (or anyone else)? This does not belittle the parental relationship, but rather it re-aligns our thinking to God's.

"He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me." Matthew 10:37

God desires for us to do His will, and even our earthly relationships must be made subordinate to that goal. Jesus' obligation - and ours - is first to our Father in Heaven; to His family & His kingdom. If this is our mindset, then all other relationships we have will be proper and in order...even if our actions seem unloving to others. We are never called to honor others in a way which permits the unGodly or caters to the desires of others ahead of God's desires for us. When honoring another puts us at odds with God's commands, then our "honoring" is in error.

Growing up, I always believed in God, but I did not know Him personally. I served Him religiously via the rituals of the church organization to which I belonged, but I mistakenly thought adherence to religious dictates was "knowing" God. Further, because I didn't know what Scripture said, I was blind to the idolatry and falsehoods in the church institution to which I belonged. Letting man define who God was, I was deceived.

Yet, when God revealed Himself to me, things changed. God pulled me into a quiet place with Him alone. In that quiet place, He worked on me individually and personally to change erroneous perceptions I had about who He is. In coming to the Lord, divisions were created amongst my friends and family. Not only did some choose to part ways with me, I had to also part ways with some of them.

God receives us as broken vessels and being made whole often requires us to be set apart from other influences. He calls us to come out from old ideas, traditions, and beliefs in ways that perhaps others who are close to us may not understand. He even begins to sever soul ties that create a false sense of obligation within us and compete with our allegiance/obedience to Him.

I am reminded of Abraham. Following God did not just require a heart change, but God specifically called for him to leave his extended family before following Him.

I think of Moses. Coming to know God went hand in hand with leaving behind the only family he had known. Those who had raised and nurtured him.

I remember Ruth. In deciding to have Naomi's God become her God, she left her family, her heritage, and her kinsmen.

I consider Esther, who - when taken to a place where she could be used by God to deliver His people - was initially required to not to acknowledge her kindred.

I see Jesus, who was mocked even by His own brothers, sisters, and countrymen.

There are others of course, but the point is that God calling them forth necessitated a separation from what they were before, and even at times from the family of their birth.

This note is not meant to be anti-family. Family is very important and is given to us by God as a reflection of our relationship with Him. But even earthly relationships can become idols, thereby supplanting the place that only God should have in our lives.

Not everyone is going to go where you go; and they may not even be called to. Don't be misled about your obligation to others in a way that makes them a god in your life. We are to be led of God's Holy Spirit first and foremost, and if we are, then every other relationship will be in accordance with His commands.

"Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law." Romans 13:8


  1. Very well put Mia. Our flesh has a way of unconsciously compartmentalizing the things of God. We tend to separate our religious or spiritual life from our mundane daily chores, work and relationships. What is not taught is that God wants our WHOLE life, not just a segment of it. this verse in 1 Cor. 7:29 just came to me... "But this I say, brethren, the time is short: it remaineth, that both they that have wives be as though they had none." This is another chapter the carnal mind has trouble with. When it is simply giving God the Pre-eminence in all things. Even our family relationships. Our duty is to please God first, then our wife, husband, children, parents...
    I have been so blessed by how the Lord is sovereignly connecting members of His Body one to another, regardless of where we may be geographically. That we may exhort, encourage and support each other. It takes time and practice to recognize what is of God, and what simply our own fleshly desires. Thank goodness He is doing a quick work... Amen Sister!

  2. This is very timely and much of your post is so relevant to my life since becoming a born again Christian. May God help me to be bold and not compromise, remembering that the Lord Himself said that he did not come to bring peace but a sword. At this time my husband and I feel that the Lord is calling us to leave London and go to Russia. In my flesh this is very challenging and has been a stuggle (its at these times unfortunately that you realise that you don't really love the Lord as much as you should and how much you love the world and the comfort of life - eventhough you think you don't :-( ). I want to do the will of God and I will by His Grace, however I have to admit there has been some fear of my mum who is a stong Catholic. When the time comes to telling my mum, I know that she definitely will not understand and this will be yet another thing that displeases her. My coming to the Lord has really changed my relationship with her. I often feel like a bad witness even though I know what I'm doing what is right before God.

    Apart from Gods grace and our obedience to the Lords commands is there any practical ways that we can deal with this sword - or do you think it is more about prayer?

    God is really using you and praise be to God for your ministry.



  3. Hi Damola,

    You ask, "Apart from Gods grace and our obedience to the Lords commands is there any practical ways that we can deal with this sword - or do you think it is more about prayer?"

    I can truly identify with your comments. I came from a Catholic background and my mother's family is largely Catholic still.

    I believe there is only on way to handle these situations: crucifixion of the old man.

    It is truly a work of God that makes it possible. We don't want to be in the flesh; either trying to cut people off or hang on to them when such may not be in God's will. Only God knows where a sword of division needs to be made, as only He knows the hearts of others.

    God's ultimate goal is redemption, to draw people to Him. But He may have to make such divisions if ties with others start to pull us away from His purposes.

    Another thing to consider is that such separations might only be temporary. For me personally, God brought about such separations from my family initially because He needed to grow me up in Him. I had to get to the place where I wasn't inordinately yoked to others; to their expectations and opinions of me. Then, regardless of what they believed, I was able to stand firm in Christ.

    My biggest deliverance (in which He is still working on me) is to get out of my emotions. If there is one thing I would make at the top of my prayer list in this regard, it is that.

    Don't get personally offended by rejection. Don't feel personally obligated to fulfill the expectations of others. Don't get frustrated when they argue with you about what God calls you to do. Don't feel doubt when they question whether you really know the Lord or have gone off into delusion...

    NONE of that can be done unless our soulish emotions have been crucified and are being governed by the Spirit of God. Now I am not speaking of being emotionless. I am speaking of having them governed by God.

    Prayer as you mention will be very important to strengthening you for these interactions with your mom, but also fasting. Really, nothing helps to get that flesh in order like fasting.

    "But as for me, when they were sick, my clothing was sackcloth: I humbled my soul with fasting; and my prayer returned into mine own bosom. I behaved myself as though he had been my friend or brother: I bowed down heavily, as one that mourneth for his mother. " Psalm 35:13-14

    I can understand the trepidation, maybe in part from what your mother may say, but also perhaps your own questions about this journey. But I know that if God has called you and your husband to make this move, then He has most certainly already paved the way!! We will be in prayer for you both that this move is fruitful, that God will provide for every need, and that the hearts of the people will be open to receive the Gospel with power by the Holy Spirit to the saving of their souls.

    God speed, and if you have the opportunity, please let us know how you are doing.

    God Bless!

  4. "Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. And a man's foes shall be they of his own household." Matthew 10:34-36

    This passage is in regards to Jesus. Some would believe he was the Messiah and some would not even in their own family and this is what would divide the family.

    People are not following the Bible. The Bible tells you to love God with all your heart,soul,and mind. It tells you that God is supposed to be number one in your life. Everything else will be in perfect Harmony after this commandment is filled.
    Family is very important but everything has its place and everything is underneath God.

  5. Hello,

    Love the blog post!!! You are really a blessing in my life. Reading things like this really inspires me to look into myself and change things for the better. I have switched over to a different blog. It is still the same look but I had to change emails so because of that I had to switch over to a new blog. I made sure I was following you again. I hope you do the same and follow and read up on my blogs. I will even be posting a new one today!!! So lets follow each other and be inspired and encouraged by each other's blog.

    Gregory A Keels


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