Luke 14:25-35 / 1 John 5:21
It all starts with an exception. Whether or not it was justifiable in God’s eyes became secondary; desire replaced obedience, convenience replaced commandment. And from there, everything went downhill! Certainly, God would understand; certainly, He would make an exception in their case … wouldn’t He? Or would He?
The historical file of attempted exceptions begins in Heaven. Lucifer believed He could do what God does … and his intention was “to be like the Most High” … his own way. [Isaiah 14:14] Jesus said God answered in a “lightning” moment, and the self-worshipper became the leader of the eternally condemned. [Luke 10:18] The first woman followed suit when she listened as the condemned pitched his exception message; and she, also following desire and convenience, discovered the shame of self-condemnation … all because she too believed she was the exception! Of note, Eve KNEW by commandment and by sight all that God allowed, along with what was NOT OK. But the ability [and choice] to COVET overcame her fear of disobedience … and Adam followed in her failure! What is notable so far is the consistent deception COVETING produces: God’s Will replaced with I WILL … making an Exception!
Throughout Scripture, the pattern remains predictable: Exception becomes the standard for self-will and the prelude to self-condemnation! Consider King David’s challenges with some of his own sons: Amnon’s abuse of Tamar, and his death at Absalom’s hand; Absalom’s overthrow of David, and his death at Joab’s hand; Adonijah’s presumptive ascension to the throne that belonged to Solomon by Promise, and Adonijah’s death at Benaiah’s hand. Each failed attempt for dominance was driven by COVETOUSNESS, and each attempt, falling short of the will “of the Most High”, ended in condemnation and death!
From my perspective, our text focuses on this important comparison. Can one truly be a ‘Disciple of Jesus Christ’, and still live a life that allows exceptions to obeying His Will? Jesus said we “cannot be His Disciple” unless we “forsake all that we HAVE”. Could what we presume or perceive as our “possessions” be the basis for us allowing exceptions to His Will? Cost Counting must define more than the price of involvement; it must also include a total and intentional elimination of our own Coveted Exceptions!
Perhaps one could consider this approach: The Law said, “Thou shalt not covet…”; Jesus taught: “a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things which he possesses.”; Paul taught: “For this ye know…no covetous man, who is an idolater, has any inheritance in the Kingdom of God.” IF COVETOUSNESS IS IDOLATRY, then are allowing exceptions to God’s Will also acts of IDOLATRY? After all, wasn’t the original failure due to his belief that he was the exception … that he could be like the Most High … in his own way?
In contrast, we have seen the reward of an obedient life lived without exceptions. From Enoch to Christ, to the Born Again New Testament Church, God has promised both a “place prepared” for us and a “reward…to give every man according as his work shall be.” [Rev. 22:12] What God verified to John in his Revelation, God also inspired him to write in his 1st Epistle: “He that is begotten of God keepeth himself, and that wicked one toucheth him not. And we know that we are of God, and the whole world lieth in wickedness.” “Little children, keep yourselves from idols. Amen.” [1 John 5:18,19,21] John’s inspired challenge is ours as well: To keep living our lives wholly obedient to God’s Will … with NO EXCEPTIONS PLEASE!