You know, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a bumper sticker or Christian T-shirt that read, “Jesus came to send fire on the earth” or “Jesus came to bring division”.
No. We like unity. We like peace. Those T-shirts sell. Those messages grow crowds.
So what do we do when we bump into Luke 12:49-53?
“I came to send fire on the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled! But I have a baptism to be baptized with, and how distressed I am till it is accomplished! Do you suppose that I came to give peace on earth? I tell you, not at all, but rather division. For from now on five in one house will be divided: three against two, and two against three. Father will be divided against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law.” (Luke 12:49-53)
Honestly, I’m tempted to skip right over the hard passages. Except. I can’t.
I want to know my Savior.
Truly know Him.
All of Him.
I need the whole counsel of God’s Word.
So when I come to hard verses like this, I remember what I know to be true about my Savior and dive deeper to study what He means by something that seems harsh or uncharacteristic of Him.
I search trusted commentaries and read what solid teachers may have written. I ask God to help me know Him better and I ask the Holy Spirit to “teach me all things” (John 14:26)…. not just the easy things or the things I find easy to swallow.
Here’s the deal: There are some things you can be neutral on, but Jesus and His ways, as defined in His Word, are not.
When you follow Jesus faithfully, it separates you from those who do not. (Luke 12:49-53 is clear).
There will be times, lots of times lately, when others will choose to support things that you simply cannot if you are a follower of Christ.
Such is happening right now, as some Christian political conservatives are celebrating the baby announcement of conservative commentator, Dave Rubin, and his partner.
But this is an affront to marriage and family as designed by God.
Christians can’t be for this. We can’t even be neutral.
And to speak out against this is offensive to this world.
But to remain silent in the name of peace, or some political conservative movement, is what has helped get us in the mess we are in.
When we stand for truth, others will be offended by our choice to follow Christ instead of the world.
Jesus was upfront about this. There is no neutral.
God warns us in Revelation, “I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth. (3:15-16)
This day may require you to make choices to stand for truth if you love Jesus and care about the lost.
For if you care about others, including Dave Rubin, his partner, and those babies, and you believe God’s Word is true and freedom-giving, then you cannot choose to celebrate sin.
As you speak truth, this may cause uncomfortable division and separation. Others may argue with you and call you names. They may exclude you. And you may feel very much like an alien and a stranger. This is okay!
But the flip side is, if you never feel like an alien or stranger, you may have a greater problem. You may be trying to ride the “neutral fence”. You may be double-minded trying to please God and man.
God tells us through, James, the brother of our Lord, that to be double minded is to be unstable in all your ways. (James 1:8).
Oh friend, when we bump into a hard passages, let’s ask God to examine our hearts.
Let’s choose to follow Christ in this hard world, even if others are not, because His Word is true and those who follow His ways over this world’s ways are forever blessed!