Every time we hear someone say that they are an expert or specialist in a certain subject, we feel safe in assuming that they have spent years gathering information and knowledge in order to make correct choices in their field. When we hear a person say they are Christian, we hesitate in making the same assumption. This is because so many people say they follow the faith without even truly understanding what it involves. Even though Christ is love itself, His mission on earth is different from what the majority believe. Understanding this mission is fundamental for anyone who wishes to follow Christ in the original way that He intended.
“Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword. For I have come to ‘set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law’; and ‘a man’s enemies will be those of his own household.’ He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find it.” (Matthew 10:34-39)
This verse shows how important it is to put God above everything else in our lives. It does not mean that God wishes to provoke division amongst families. It means that we must not let anyone interfere with our communion with Him even if it means upsetting those closest to us. When we decide to please God, we have to go against family traditions, negative influence from friends, or anything that could come between ourselves and God.
But it is the last sentence of this verse that sums it up. Whoever tries to live their lives the way they see fit, will struggle and even lose their salvation. But those who surrender their earthly lives will inherit an abundant one as well as their salvation. In practice, that means having to say ‘no’ to things that don’t involve God, regardless of the consequences. In many cases, people will start leaving our lives because of our decision and it may seem that we are losing our friends or family, or for example, when we start telling the truth in our workplace and get fired for it. In reality, we are denying ourselves the things of this world so that God can remain first in our lives. In doing so, God retributes and gives us the life that He wants us to live, which is much better than anything we can blindly pursue by ourselves.
Being a Christian is much more than knowing a few chosen Bible verses, attending a church, or singing praise. It is about taking up the sword that He mentions and separating what’s godly from the ungodly. It involves tearing up our own will and desires so that He can have His way even if it displeases other people. It is about standing up for what we believe and putting God first in order to have true communion with Him and conquer our salvation.