Family Ties, Ties that Bind

Most are fortunate enough and blessed to have an earthly family, those who are bound to us by the blood that runs through our veins. Although those relationships can be strained at times there are very strong ties to the ones we are related to.

Sin is in the world however and working feverishly, fiendishly to break the ties that bind in our families. We are tuned into a message both audible and inaudible on the station of WMEME where all your favorite tunes are enjoyed in the privacy of your own thoughts.

The owner-operator is none other than the Chief Tale-spinner of all Time, the Prince of the Air(waves). Remember the old movies (and for those of you who had first-hand experience of this) where when our troops were encamped in the enemy territory, how the propaganda played incessantly over the air waves getting you to doubt the sincerity and altruism of the home flag?

Well there is a PA system in your brain that plays incessantly to get you to doubt the sincerity and altruism of everybody except Self. The message is goading and bidding you to defect from all relationships, to withdraw you loyalty and trust to any and all others. To establish the sovereign nation of Me. Founded by Me, for Me. Population 1.

Scene change

When Jesus walked the earth He called his disciples to follow Him. They immediately dropped their nets, their livelihood and their very life agenda to follow Him. That was not the only strange and wonderful thing that happened. Where is the part where they repented of their sin?

It is not there. I would only guess that they might be sinners. (All have sinned). I mean come on, they were fishermen. Can you think of a more surly bunch? Just think of the conversation and talks of exploits they must have with their buds on the lake.

No, there is no mention of their repentance when they were called. Were they disciples or becoming disciples? What do you think? I think and know that they had a lot of “issues” to work through before they could hold that title. I think we have a lot of issues we need to work through too.

Those who heard the call and chose by an act of their will to follow still had to grow in the experience of what it meant to follow. They were perfectly sincere in their desire. They were attracted to Him by a dominating sincerity. Yet they had not begun to count the cost of being a disciple.

We too come to Christ by a drawing, an attraction and a sincerity. We do not yet have a clue of the depth of cost to follow as a disciple, much less to have a blood-bound relationship with Him. Don’t forget, many who began to follow Him went away.

Following God with an initial zeal does not establish a relationship. Following, walking with Him will test and prove the mettle of your sincerity. That is what God is doing. He is refining your choice, sanctifying your sincerity in the cauldron of afflictions.

Did not each who ultimately became known to us as a disciple suffer many things? Yet one, Judas, went out, defected. A little coaxing of worldly treasures was all it took to prove his lack of sincerity. “They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us.” 1 John 2:19..

Religion will tell you you are in as long as you keep turning the crank, doing good works, serving the church and giving. God has another way of finding out the true intent of your heart, not for Himself, but so that you might know your own heart. He allows you to be tested.

When you think you are sincere, long after the initial puppy love of the newness of your affair with Him begins to wane, He will bring a crisis, perhaps small, (matched to your faith) to show you what you are made of.

It is these crises where your love for Self and your supposed, stated love for Him will be brought head-to-head in combat. Whose side will you take? Will you side with Self, or with Him? God is not mocked, nor stupid as some suppose. He is revealing your heart.

Think of the parable of the Sower and the Seed. Some seed began to take root but did not produce anything. It just looked like a good start. Things happen. Crises came and revealed the depth of the sincerity and the depth of the root.

It is through the crises, the fellowship of suffering, the afflictions and trials that the character of the disciple is formed and tempered for use as a mighty weapon. God does not even bother with testing those whose sincerity is obviously only surface. He has to find an initial show of desire to sacrifice.

The heart of the true disciple, sends a root deep into the rich soil of the Word, and is watered by the Word and nourished in the Light of the Word. And once there is a showing of desire to grow then the crises begin to test the sincerity of soil.

It is only a heart devoutly and diligently seeking Him that will make it through the weathering of this world’s hatreds, despisings, and demonic attacks. Only what remains after these shakings can abide.

Following is not a matter of a one-time choice. Your sincerity must pass the fires of sanctification.

“For Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world.” 1 Tim 4:10.