What do you think of when reading the following quote? It was something posted on Facebook by an old family friend who we fondly called, “Uncle Sam.” That he’s not my real uncle, yet had a spiritual role in my life as one, is only a confirmation of what I personally thought of when I first saw the quote. (I’m still interested in what you see in it, as well)
Jesus said the same thing in so many words: that the Kingdom of God is not where you can have one foot in, and one foot out. His disciples had to literally leave their old lives and many relationships, (“villages”) in order to literally follow Him for the three intense years He ministered on earth. I assume some spouses came along. Some did not. Generally, it was close family members that had the biggest problem with the radical new thing Jesus was bringing about,¹ and they were the sorest source of resistance and “pull” from fully following Jesus.
When Peter felt the need to remind Jesus, “We have left everything to follow you,” Jesus had no argument. Only an encouragement. His encouragement was that you don’t leave the smallness of one’s “village,” to enter a place of emptiness. You come into a large Kingdom with an abundance of spiritual relationships.
Truly I tell you, anyone who has left homes or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands for Me and the gospel, will not fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age: homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and land—along with persecutions–and in the age to come eternal life. ~ Mark 10:28-30
Unlike a generic “brotherhood,” (an orphan substitute commonly offered in “church” life) the Kingdom contains true, and everlasting family that can only be discerned and enjoyed when there is a shift in one’s priorities away from the “village mindset” that keeps us fearful, limited, and walking in the concerns of the flesh all the time.
It’s not easy to live in the Kingdom now. Especially when in doing so, one may have to endure condemnation, misunderstanding, or grief from those you love, and even respect.
“Forgetting” What Lies Behind
In the Song of Songs, there was a beautiful woman who either left, or was taken from her village, who later became the bride of Solomon. To say she did not struggle a little may not be accurate. In fact, I can hear the voice of the aged David saying to this woman:
Listen, daughter, pay attention and consider: forget your people and your father’s house. Let the king be enthralled by your beauty, and honor him… Psalm 45:10-11
It’s a hard saying, but as the Bride of Christ, it’s just not possible to endlessly seek for the approval of others, and be fully engaged in Kingdom work. Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ. Gal. 1:10. This does not mean literally abandoning family, or being callous and unloving to those we are in relationship to – but it does mean being aware of one’s affections, and how they may be divided from Christ and His Kingdom.
His Bride… has dove’s eyes only for Him. It may be possible to do this, wherever we are, but the expectation of challenges and persecution should always be counted on.
¹ Matthew 10:35-37
For more reading, see: The Fellowship of Dove’s Eyes
4 thoughts on “Breaking from a Village Focus”
1. You have to leave… to receive! You can’t keep your hold on the temporary and receive the eternal!
2. You have to die… to live! There is no true and new life without prior death of the old!
… and those spiritual laws encompass everything and every area of our lives. Not one little speck (those things we might be deceived to think He generously might turn a blind eye on ;)…) is allowed to remain.
Our God is a consuming fire! And He won’t rest until His love has consumed everything that is not in line with His command:
You shall love the Lord your God with ALL your heart and with ALL your soul and with ALL your strength and with ALL your mind.
Tell me what can remain dear to us when ALL of your heart, soul, strength and mind is loving Him? All isn’t all anymore if there is the smallest exception, right? Unless it’s 100% it isn’t all at all, right? All means all… or it isn’t all anymore!
And right, even kids, spouses, beloveds and friends – you name it – aren’t excluded.
You think this is extreme? Think this is impossible? I understand you completely. It’s the normal reaction of every normal man! But… but… if God has poured His love into your heart, your only delight will be to be completely consumed by this wonderful love.
You will sing beaming with radiant joy:
Take my life, and let it be
Consecrated, Lord, to Thee;
Take my moments and my days,
Let them flow in ceaseless praise,
Let them flow in ceaseless praise.
Take my hands, and let them move
At the impulse of Thy love;
Take my feet and let them be
Swift and beautiful for Thee,
Swift and beautiful for Thee.
Take my voice, and let me sing
Always, only, for my King;
Take my lips, and let them be
Filled with messages from Thee,
Filled with messages from Thee.
Take my silver and my gold;
Not a mite would I withhold;
Take my intellect, and use
Every power as Thou shalt choose,
Every power as Thou shalt choose.
Take my will, and make it Thine;
It shall be no longer mine.
Take my heart; it is Thine own;
It shall be Thy royal throne,
It shall be Thy royal throne.
Take my love; my Lord, I pour
At Thy feet its treasure-store.
Take myself, and I will be
Ever, only, all for Thee,
Ever, only, all for Thee.
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Not any more extreme than how Jesus laid the situation out, for many who wanted to follow Him, but made excuses for things they had to attend to first. And yet no matter how extreme it is in the flesh – to wholly love Christ is altogether liberating and rich in the Spirit. Thank you for sharing this, Markus!
Abram had to leave his luxuries in Ur to enter Canaan.
Israel had to leave slavery in Egypt to enter Canaan.
I have often spiritualised these examples and haven’t understood that God means things very practically.
I always felt that I’d be left with nothing if I gave something up. It was painful.
I was forgetting the Cross, forgetting who I am in Christ – a co-heir with Christ – and that my Father has infinitely more to give me than I could ever attain to by myself.
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Yes! Beautifully said!