Shayla: Can you explain Luke 14:26-27 to me?

 

Case History:

While generalizing some statements and being sure that no identifiers are present, allow me to present enough information so that the reader may understand the context of the question.

A married woman whose kids had recently left the house was presented with a dilemma by her husband. She discovered that for the four months, he had a secret internet relationship with a single woman who had four kids. He claimed that he had fallen in love with the kids and simply wanted to mentor them. He would refer to the kids as “our precious kids”, meaning his own and the single woman. He insisted that his wife help take care of the kids and even keep them on weekends so that the single woman could have rest. Further, he wanted to support the woman financially.

When the married woman naturally resisted this idea, he claimed to be following Oswald Chamber’s advice found on the January 11 devotion in the book “My Utmost for His Highest” titled “What My Obedience to God Costs Other People”. In this article, Chambers said,

“If we obey God it is going to cost other people more than it costs us, and that is where the sting comes in. If we are in love with our Lord, obedience does not cost us anything, it is a delight, but it costs those who do not love Him a good deal. If we obey God, it will mean that other people’s plans are upset, and they will gibe us with it – ‘You call this Christianity?’ We can prevent the suffering; but if we are going to obey God, we must not prevent it, we must let the cost be paid.”

The married woman was active in church and attended Bible studies. Her husband was a men’s ministry leader, AWANA commander, prayer meeting leader and a Bible study leader. When she went to her church leaders about the situation, they advised her to submit to her husband’s wishes.

 

Midrash:

Now, first we must keep in mind that Oswald Chambers was just a human, just like us. That means he was prone to sin just like us. Not everything he says can be taken as Scripture. For instance, the fact that Oswald’s amazing statement was based on Luke 23:26 where the Roman soldiers placed Jesus’ cross on a man named Simon, completely spiritualizing this verse to the point where it exceeds its p’shat (its obvious intended literal interpretation) tells me something about the value of this particular advice.

When we read Oswald Chambers, we must give him the same respect that the Bereans did for the apostles’ teachings.

  • Acts 17:11 HCSB  The people here were more open-minded than those in Thessalonica, since they welcomed the message with eagerness and examined the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so.

Secondly, we need to understand that people misconstrue or even deliberately twist the Scriptures, much less human statements!

  • John 16:2 HCSB  They will ban you from the synagogues. In fact, a time is coming when anyone who kills you will think he is offering service to God.
  • Romans 1:18-22 HCSB  For God's wrath is revealed from heaven against all godlessness and unrighteousness of people who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth,  19  since what can be known about God is evident among them, because God has shown it to them.  20  From the creation of the world His invisible attributes, that is, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what He has made. As a result, people are without excuse.  21  For though they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God or show gratitude. Instead, their thinking became nonsense, and their senseless minds were darkened.  22  Claiming to be wise, they became fools

Having said that, I must also state that I too believe we must follow God’s commands even at the cost of our human relationships.

  • Luke 14:26-27 HCSB  "If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his own father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters--yes, and even his own life--he cannot be My disciple.  27  Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple.

 

However, we must be certain that we are actually following the prompting of the Holy Spirit and not our own will.

  • Ephesians 5:15-17 HCSB  Pay careful attention, then, to how you walk--not as unwise people but as wise--  16  making the most of the time, because the days are evil.  17  So don't be foolish, but understand what the Lord's will is.
  • 2 Corinthians 13:5 HCSB  Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith. Examine yourselves. Or do you not recognize for yourselves that Jesus Christ is in you?--unless you fail the test.

 

Humans have an almost limitless capacity for self-deception, even concerning something as critical as their salvation.

  • Jeremiah 17:9-10 HCSB  The heart is more deceitful than anything else and desperately sick--who can understand it?  10  I, the LORD, examine the mind, I test the heart to give to each according to his way, according to what his actions deserve.

 

The Holy Spirit will never contradict the Word of God and the Scriptures clearly dictate that a husband must sacrificially love his wife, placing her above his own interests and seeking her welfare.

  • Ephesians 5:25-31 HCSB  Husbands, love your wives, just as also Christ loved the church and gave Himself for her,  26  to make her holy, cleansing her in the washing of water by the word.  27  He did this to present the church to Himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but holy and blameless.  28  In the same way, husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.  29  For no one ever hates his own flesh, but provides and cares for it, just as Christ does for the church,  30  since we are members of His body.  31  For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.
  • 1 Timothy 5:8 HCSB  Now if anyone does not provide for his own relatives, and especially for his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.

 

I believe that this lady’s husband knows the truth of this. He is “kicking against the goads” (Acts 26:14) of the Holy Spirit and trying to justify himself in his sinful attraction to this woman. The Scriptures speak directly to him when they say:

  • Proverbs 5:18-22 HCSB  Let your fountain be blessed, and take pleasure in the wife of your youth.  19  A loving doe, a graceful fawn--let her breasts always satisfy you; be lost in her love forever.  20  Why, my son, would you be infatuated with a forbidden woman or embrace the breast of a stranger?  21  For a man's ways are before the LORD's eyes, and He considers all his paths.  22  A wicked man's iniquities entrap him; he is entangled in the ropes of his own sin.

 

If he continues to suppress the truth that the Holy Spirit is voicing, he will darken his own mind and become even more foolish. I find it noteworthy that suppressing truth, and substituting one’s ideas of God and what God allows for the reality of God as He presents Himself, lead directly to immorality according to the context of this passage.

  • Romans 1:18-22 HCSB  For God's wrath is revealed from heaven against all godlessness and unrighteousness of people who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth,  19  since what can be known about God is evident among them, because God has shown it to them.  20  From the creation of the world His invisible attributes, that is, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what He has made. As a result, people are without excuse.  21  For though they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God or show gratitude. Instead, their thinking became nonsense, and their senseless minds were darkened.  22  Claiming to be wise, they became fools

 

If he does not change his ways, his worship will be useless. The Lord will reject this husband’s offerings much like He did Cain’s.

  • Malachi 2:13-16 HCSB  And this is another thing you do: you cover the LORD's altar with tears, with weeping and groaning, because He no longer respects your offerings or receives them gladly from your hands.  14  Yet you ask, "For what reason?" Because the LORD has been a witness between you and the wife of your youth. You have acted treacherously against her, though she was your marriage partner and your wife by covenant.  15  Didn't the one God make us with a remnant of His life-breath? And what does the One seek? A godly offspring. So watch yourselves carefully, and do not act treacherously against the wife of your youth.  16  "If he hates and divorces his wife," says the LORD God of Israel, "he covers his garment with injustice," says the LORD of Hosts. Therefore, watch yourselves carefully, and do not act treacherously.

 

His relationship with his wife (or lack thereof) can even cause his prayers to be hindered.

  • 1 Peter 3:7 HCSB  Husbands, in the same way, live with your wives with understanding of their weaker nature yet showing them honor as co-heirs of the grace of life, so that your prayers will not be hindered.

 

In fact in my judgment, he needs to carefully consider whether or not he has truly understood salvation and has a relationship with Christ or is merely doing external works.

  • Matthew 7:22-23 HCSB  On that day many will say to Me, 'Lord, Lord, didn't we prophesy in Your name, drive out demons in Your name, and do many miracles in Your name?'  23  Then I will announce to them, 'I never knew you! Depart from Me, you lawbreakers!'
  • 2 Corinthians 13:5 HCSB  Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith. Examine yourselves. Or do you not recognize for yourselves that Jesus Christ is in you?--unless you fail the test.