Jesus said, 'Truly I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or farms, for My sake and for the Gospel's sake, but that he will receive a hundred times as much now in the present age, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and farms, along with persecutions; and in the age to come, eternal life.'
But He answered and said to them, 'My mother and My brothers are these who hear the Word of God and do it.'
Jehoshaphat was a good king. He did 'What was right in the sight of the Lord' (2 Chronicles 20:32). He was the point man for a whopping war wonder. When Judah was invaded, King Jehoshaphat pleaded for God's help--in prayer and fasting. God's response?
'Thus says the Lord to you: 'Do not be afraid nor dismayed because of this great multitude, for the battle is not yours, but God’s... You will not need to fight in this battle. Position yourselves, stand still and see the salvation of the Lord' (2 Chronicles 20:15-17). By divine intervention, the invaders got confused and killed each other--leaving only their riches behind.
But the good king had some bad family--and he fell into the pitfall of family persuasion. When King Ahab asked King Jehoshaphat to join him in war, Jehoshaphat agreed: 'I am as you are, and my people as your people, and we will be with you in the battle' (2 Chronicles 18:3). He ignored the prophet Micaiah's warning--and even his subsequent imprisonment for speaking the truth.
Were it not for God, Jehoshaphat would have died in this battle. Even so, his alliance with Ahab continued to haunt him--and all of God's people. When Ahab's son asked Jehoshaphat to join him in a shipping deal, the good king agreed--again. God spoke through a prophet--again: 'Should you help the wicked and love those who hate the Lord and so bring wrath on yourself from the Lord?' (2 Chronicles 19:2). All ships were lost at sea.*
Actors, models and talent for Christ: the pitfall of family persuasion is firmly covered by Jesus. 'If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple' (Luke 14:26).**
That's a hard and direct covering. But family persuasion is a big and sticky pitfall. He doesn't want us mired in it. We cannot love our family more than Him--nor can we allow them to persuade us to any other path than His.
Because if the enemy cannot persuade us directly, he'll try to persuade us indirectly--through any family member who is susceptible. Because for us, it's easier to say 'No' to red-horned devils we hate than to familiar-faced kin we love. Nevertheless, our first Love must be Him, not them.
To Be Continued...
* Lessons Learned from Jehoshaphat: http://pleonast.com/users/thejoyoftom/entries/596650-lessons-learned-from-jehoshaphat-2-chronicles-17-21
** Article: 'What does it mean to 'hate our father and mother' ' (Luke 14:26)? http://www.gotquestions.org/hate-father-mother.html
P.S. To read the other devotions in this series, please see the Christian Pitfalls series.