Luke 14:27

Verse of the Day Devotion:  Luke 14:27  

“Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple.” – Luke 14:27

This is a very difficult verse, and being tied to the verse prior to it, even more so. Jesus here is walking and a large crowd was following Him.  After a time He turns to them and says. “If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be My disciple.” Luke 14:26.  This seems rather harsh, but when we look into it, we see what He means by this.  This same account is recorded by Matthew but the wording is slightly different.  “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.” Matthew 10:37.  

‘Hate’ as meant in verse 26 should not be understood in terms of emotion or malice, but rather in its Hebraic sense, signifying the thing rejected in a choice between two important claims. He was not saying that if we want to be a disciple, we must abhor our family.  What He was saying is that we are to reject the family if we must make a choice between the two.  So, what He is essentially saying is  if given a choice between Jesus and our family or our very life, and if we choose our family or our life over Him we are rejecting Him and we cannot be His disciple.  Nothing or no one can take precedence over our relationship with Christ.  For if it does, then we are not worthy to be His disciple for it was absolutely necessary they should prefer his service to everything in the world, and by their conduct show they hated father, and mother, and wife, and children, that is to say, loved the dearest objects of their affections less than him.   

Now, to our focus verse.  “Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple.” Luke 14:17.  The meaning of this here is that if we are not willing to suffer for His cause, then we cannot be His disciple.  We must be willing to suffer all reproach, affliction, persecution and even death itself, cheerfully and patiently.  This does not mean that we are to be happy about it, but rather that we will not choose any other course if that means we deny our relation with Him, for this would show we see comfort preferable to suffering for the cause of Christ, and that there is no question regarding it.  We must be willing to bear that which is extremely heavy.  We must be willing to suffer whatever comes upon us because of our love for Christ and all that may entail. 

So, are we willing to do all this for Christ?  It is important that we periodically examine our  hearts to ensure that we have placed Christ and the work and life He has called us to over anything else.  The Christian life is far more than making a decision to accept Christ yet continuing on in the same way and life.  We must be willing to sacrifice everything we have for Him.  I pray we are all there, or as I have said many times, All In.  Halfway in or 99% in is not enough.  Either we are all in, or we are not in at all.  Think about this, and if necessary, make any adjustments necessary to be a solid disciple of Jesus Christ.  He gave everything for us, is it not reasonable that we give everything also for Him?

William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries. 

Galatians 5:16

Verse of the Day Devotion: Galatians 5:16 

“But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh.” – Galatians 5:16

Paul sets forth here a dichotomy.  We either walk by the Spirit of God, or we will walk according to our own desires.  These are in opposition to each other.  Paul states here in the next verse. “For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please.” Galatians 5:17. We either do one or the other.

Paul lays out how we can deny our fleshly desires.  God has given us His Spirit to live within us, and we are to live under His influence and obey His will.  We are not to resist His leadings but accept them and resist where our desires could lead us.  If we would yield our hearts to the Spirit, we would be able to overcome all our corrupt and carnal propensities.  If we find ourselves resisting the Spirit, then we find ourselves being led in the other direction, following the ways of our flesh.

This situation laid out here is why it is so important that we fully submit to God and all His ways.  Satan is the great tempter.  He first tempted Eve in the garden, convincing her to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, and then she gave the fruit to Adam who also ate of that tree.  What the devil did was stimulate the desires they had to be in control.  And he does the same thing today.  We, as Christians, desire that God be in control.  However, there are times when we let down our guard and we take control ourselves.  We listen to ourselves and our desires rather than the Spirit inside us.  Lacking self-control, we can succumb to the temptations the Devil brings our way.  Instead, we should always listen to and follow the Spirit of God and He will give us wisdom in our situation and guide us in His ways.  Instead of resisting the Spirit, we should resist the devil and his temptations. As James put it, “Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” James 4:7

Too often we go the other way, submitting to the devil instead of God.  It is important that we examine ourselves and see where we are, especially when we find ourselves giving in to our fleshly desires. Instead of following God, we find ourselves subconsciously resisting Him.  Often times we do not realize we are doing it.  That is why we are to consistently resist the devil because when we do, he will flee, and we will then be open to hearing God.

Be in prayer about this.  It is important that we seek the leading of the Spirit at all times.  It is easy at times to let our guard down.  But we must remain committed to God and His ways.  This is the only way we can resist the enemy of our souls and defeat him.    

William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries.