Saturday, May 07, 2011

May 7, 2011 … Trial’s Lessons: Right Priorities

Passage of the Day: Genesis 22: 10 - 12 … 10 Then he [Abraham] reached out his hand and took the knife to slay his son [Isaac]. 11 But the Angel of the LORD called out to him from heaven, "Abraham! Abraham!"
"Here I am," he [Abraham] replied. 12 "Do not lay a hand on the boy," He [the Angel – likely Jesus] said. "Do not do anything to him. Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from Me your son, … your only son."

My Journal for Today: It’s a test! And the question from today’s passage, involving the poignant and powerful test Abraham had to endure, becomes – Do we pass God’s test when He calls for our radical obedience in the face (at times) of overbearing demands from the circumstances of life?

Sometimes the teaching from God is almost unbearable. Jesus taught a hard truth in Luke 14: 26 (see below) when He told His followers that discipleship could cause them to seem like they hated their own family. [“hate” here refers to turning radically from selfish desires or feelings for others]

SCRIPTURE: Luke 14: 26 “If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters—yes, even his own life—he cannot be My disciple.”

But as with all such challenging demands from Christ, Jesus, Himself, is our Model. He was the suffering servant (see Isaiah 53), Who went to the cross in perfect obedience to His Father in Heaven, encountering incredible hardship, pain, and even death to carry out God’s will. And that becomes the mold into which we must pour our lives … no matter how challenging it might be, especially when we are called – by God – to move in directions which our family may not agree. Often, when Muslims convert to Christianity, their family hates them for it; and many times the newly converted Christian must turn his/her back on the family to pursue discipleship in Christ.

So, what in our lives stands in the way of following Jesus as He commanded … to deny self, to take up His cross daily, and to follow Him [Luke 9: 23]? Are we willing to put Christ first – even above the lives and feelings of our families? Of course, Christ would never ask us to do anything that subverts the roles we have as Christian husbands or fathers or even as friends in steadfast Christian family relationships. That’s illustrated as clearly as it could be in today’s highlight passage about Abraham and Isaac. He certainly didn’t allow Abraham to take the life of his son. But many times Christ’s calling will mean that others will have to take second place as we lift and carry His cross and follow Him in our daily life. Are we ready and willing to do so?

I pray that I am.

My Prayer Today: Lord, help me pass Your test. Amen

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