Teenside Daily Devotional

5/15/20
Read Matthew 10:34-39.

        “I have not come to bring peace, but a sword.” Are these really words from a man also known as the Prince of Peace? At first glance, this passage may seem rather harsh or intense. It sounds as though Jesus is throwing away everything he has said up to this point about strengthening relationships and reconciliation within them. Yet, with a closer look, we can determine that this intensity is merely to draw attention and importance to Jesus’ metaphor.

        This “sword” is not literal. Although Jesus permitted his disciples to carry a few actual swords (Luke 22:38), we have no record of Jesus owning or using one. This metaphor more than likely refers to the inevitable division between those who choose to follow Christ and those who do not. The verses that follow create a picture of what this division could extend to: families, a group of relatives whose relationships should not be easily broken. In my observation and experience, the separation between disciples of Christ and those outside the Church is most apparent and most painful within families. However difficult this may be to deal with, Jesus still calls us to place priority on a relationship with him before a relationship with anyone else. You can’t properly minister to those that you love the most until this is resolved. Then, once you have aligned yourself under his authority, you will be able to perform the most loving act for those family members, bringing the Gospel to them.

        Finally, we have a couple of the most quoted verses in the Bible. Jesus distinguishes that being worthy to follow him will require more than just a “yes”. A disciple of Christ has to deny himself/herself each and every day. This does not imply we are to neglect our needs. This means placing our desires after God’s Will. While it does sound simple, this is no easy task. Denying oneself is as much of a discipline as anything else. It takes practice and determination. But when you get the hang of it, you realize that chasing after your own desires has no true value while serving your Creator is the most valuable thing there is!
Questions:

*Take a moment to journal these questions. Write down your thoughts, questions, and concerns. Then date your entry. One of the coolest things is being able to look back and see how God came through for you.*
  1. Have you ever had to forfeit a close relationship in order to pursue Christ? 
  1. Who are some people that need the truth of the gospel? How can you use your influence in their life to do so?
  1. What does it look like to place your desires after God’s will? When we think of denying ourselves, we often think of giving up something sinful in order to grow closer to Christ. While this can be the case, it does not have to be something bad. It could be a good thing that has risen to an unhealthy place. What do you need to deny in order to put God’s will first? 

Prayer: Spend some time praying about the things you journaled. Ask God to show you what it means to deny yourself and follow Him, no matter the cost. Spend some time praising and thanking Jesus for the grace He gives and the relationship He extends to us. Choosing Him above our desires is always worth it. Ask that Jesus would help you to see people in your life that need the gospel and pray for the boldness to share it with them. Ask God to help you love like He loves– although it may bring conflict, His goal was always to bring people into a life of peace through salvation.

Song: Unstoppable God– Elevation Worship
Spotify Playlist: https://open.spotify.com/playlist/169Fs68hROYRdS362T8D9w
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