Do not think that I came to send peace upon earth: I came not to send peace, but the sword. (Matthew 10:34)
It's a rather unusual part of Christ's ministry that I am focusing on today. However, I just got back from arguing with a friend of mine who turned to a militant atheist (baptized a Catholic).
I admit that such arguing with friends tend to get to me, especially if the friends I argue with are those I have come to respect.
The whole situation does not make me waver in my faith. On the contrary, it leads me to a deeper understanding of the Christian life. One could say the following: "if there isn't any suffering, then something is not right".
Not peace, but the sword. Yet according to Isaiah 9:6, the Christ will be called the Prince of Peace.
The peace from the Lord is twofold. One is the inner peace we attain through His Holy Spirit. That peace we feel when we are set free upon knowing the truth (John 8:32). The other kind of peace will be a universal peace which will come to the world when He comes again to reign forever over all.
For I came to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. And a man's enemies shall be they of his own household. (Matthew 10:35-36)
Why this discord? This opposition of one against the other has its root in the fact that some will accept the Lord, but many will refuse to follow Him; many will even directly and explicitly oppose Him.
And what of us? Can we expect good treatment being disciples of Him whom they mock?!
The disciple is not above the master, nor the servant above his lord. It is enough for the disciple that he be as his master, and the servant as his lord. If they have called the goodman of the house Beelzebub, how much more them of his household? (Matthew 10:24-25)
As they treat the Lord, so too they will treat the servant.
Indeed, life is not easy. But we have to choose: either this life or life eternal, either this world or the next, either the flesh or the spirit.
He that loveth father or mother more than me, is not worthy of me; and he that loveth son or daughter more than me, is not worthy of me. (Matthew 10:37)
You shall love the Lord your God above all else. Above your family, above your friends, above yourself. Trying our best to follow Jesus Christ is not always easy, but neither was His life. The Lord gave up His own life that we may live. We cannot expect a life without hardships!
And he that taketh not up his cross, and followeth me, is not worthy of me. (Matthew 10:38)
To truly live, we must die. We must die to this world and not let anything of this world pull us away from Him; from Him who loved us so much He became lesser than angels to suffer with us, to suffer for us and ultimately to die for us.
He that findeth his life, shall lose it: and he that shall lose his life for me, shall find it. (Matthew 10:39)
All things of this world will pass away. It is therefore wise to follow Him who is "the way, the truth and the life" (John 14:6).
Family, friends, co-workers, etc...
They all may turn against us, they all may abandon us. I'm not saying that they all will, but some may; who knows?
But in the end, we suffer no loss.
Furthermore I count all things to be but loss for the excellent knowledge of Jesus Christ my Lord; for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but as dung, that I may gain Christ: (Philippians 3:8)