All that God allows in our lives and all God’s commands are the framework, the foundation and the guarantee of our safety, security and eternal benefits.
If you want to know what I was doing at the time – I was soaking my feet. (How mundane can you get?) Suddenly, unexpectedly – (Luke 14:26) invaded my mind like a shooting star. Other verses tumbled in and formed a picture that left me awe-struck by fresh insight.
Let’s start with what we know. We know that “hate” in this verse does not mean intent to harm. It means in comparison to our No. 1 priority which must always be God. Jesus must be first or not at all. We also know that love and care for family and others is mandatory because if a man doesn’t provide for his family (1 Timothy 5:8) he is worse than an infidel. Also – Jesus condemned the Pharisees who neglected the needs of their parents (Mark 7:10-13) with the nauseating stench of a self-righteous excuse that the money had been dedicated to God. We can plainly see the selfishness as well as the hypocrisy. One miserly set amount for either/or but not for both – no loving generosity to lavish gifts on both God and parents.
So we can clearly understand what God means about hating family but the part about “our own life also” could be harder. Can we get a clue from (John 12:25) ”hates his life in this world”? I’ll come back to that, but first - - we are told that all God’s commands are for our good and benefit. When the Lord says a hard word, how do we know it is for our benefit? I’m not talking about faith right now - - I’m saying when God says something hard, how can we be sure that it is really for our benefit? We must find the proof and we’ll need the time machine. Hop in – we have to go back to Eden. What happened that would cause the Lord to say such a thing. Don’t stop to inhale the fragrance of the riot of the lovely flowers, we are here to do research. Keep your eyes on the immensely subtle (Genesis 3:1) and crafty serpent. Look – he’s going to the woman. Why not the man? Satan knew he could not deceive Adam so he decided to play both ends against the middle. If he could seduce Eve maybe he could use her to snare Adam. Watch and listen (Genesis 3:1-5) to Satan’s conversation with Eve. Does she seem resistant at first and then wavering a little? - - until! She saw – considered – she took and she ate. Eve was truly deceived and in the transgression – but remember –just like us – she had to exercise her own will to listen and to eat the fruit. Adam didn’t seem to be around when he was needed but she found him and gave him some of the fruit. Not deceived (1 Timothy 2:14) – eyes wide open. Adam deliberately rejected God’s authority and ate. Why? Why? Why?
Adam didn’t hate his wife (Luke 14:26) in comparison to his love for God – he chose her over God. Eve had lost her relationship with God and Adam would rather lose his than lose Eve. Look back at (John 12:25) “anyone who hates his life in this world”. Adam loved his life in this world – easy living in a beautiful garden with everything supplied and a drop-dead-gorgeous wife. Did Adam lose his life? We know he did. Banished from Eden to face life in a world that would give him sweat, toil and sorrow (Genesis 3:17-19) and physical death that need never have been. Were there far-reaching effects? Paradise was lost to all humanity.
Calvary loomed large that day in Eden when the Lord God shed blood on behalf of the two that brought the first sin into the world – sin which incurred a curse on God’s once-perfect, beautiful world.
Yes, yes, yes, Lord we see it and we believe it. The purpose and reason for all your commands is always for our good and our benefit because they are based on your great unfailing love for us.
There is nothing in this present world for Christians to love. Always keep in view what is temporary and what is eternal. Do not love the world (1 John 2:15-17) or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world – love for the Father is not in him.
Paul warned us (2 Corinthians 11:3) to be on guard against the crafty serpent who will try to beguile us as he did Eve and seduce us from pure devotion to Christ.
If our theology is right – our perspective will be clear. Just another way of saying – if we know the TRUTH (John 8:32) the TRUTH will set us free - - free to discern the wiles and avoid the crafty schemes and snares of the devil.
Take a long look at Eden. Take a longer look at Calvary. Surely, we have no more questions. All that God allows in our lives and all God’s commands are the framework, the foundation and the guarantee of our safety, security and eternal benefits.
The Second Adam knows exactly what we need – and staggering truth – He can make this once-perfect but now cursed earth Redemption Ground for all who call upon Him (Acts 2:21) because (2 Peter 3:9) He is not willing that any should perish.
Something I heard from a Christian scientist is a thrilling reminder to continually overwhelm us with gratitude-filled wonder - - - the same God Who created the universe (time – space – matter – energy) became flesh (John 1:3, John 1:14) and dwelt among us. The personal message I get from this is that Jesus became like us so that we could become like him.