Thursday, March 11, 2010

Committing to Christ (Thursday, 3rd Week of Lent, Luke 11:14-23)

Jesus was driving out a demon that was mute,
and when the demon had gone out,
the mute man spoke and the crowds were amazed.
Some of them said, “By the power of Beelzebul,
the prince of demons, he drives out demons.”
Others, to test him, asked him for a sign from heaven.
But he knew their thoughts and said to them,
“Every kingdom divided against itself will be laid waste
and house will fall against house.
And if Satan is divided against himself,
how will his kingdom stand?
For you say that it is by Beelzebul that I drive out demons.
If I, then, drive out demons by Beelzebul,
by whom do your own people drive them out?
Therefore they will be your judges.
But if it is by the finger of God that I drive out demons,
then the Kingdom of God has come upon you.
When a strong man fully armed guards his palace,
his possessions are safe.
But when one stronger than he attacks and overcomes him,
he takes away the armor on which he relied
and distributes the spoils.
Whoever is not with me is against me,
and whoever does not gather with me scatters.”

* * * * * * *

There can be no wavering when it comes to following Jesus. Either one is with him or against him. Our life of faith is not some sort of collage in which we can pick and choose those commands which we want to obey and disregard those which we don’t like because they are hard and difficult to live by. This “cafeteria” type of religion is not acceptable to Jesus. He promises life to those who follow him, and demands of them that they give themselves completely to him. There can be no wishy-washiness in following Jesus.

This is the essence of his retort to the doubting crowd that a kingdom divided in itself will not stand. He couldn’t very well be doing God’s work and the evil one’s work at the same time. Likewise, one who seeks to be his follower has to give his all to this endeavor. He can’t be around today and gone tomorrow. It’s full-time commitment.

There are many who refuse to commit because they are afraid of what this commitment will entail, what it will demand of them. So they either run away from it, or sit on the sidelines watching. Afraid of getting hurt or failing, they refuse to commit, not realizing that in their refusal, they are also closing the gates to the possibility of finding complete fulfillment and happiness in this life and in the life to come.

"The Kingdom of Heaven is a condition of the heart." (Friedrich Nietzsche)