I love fashion, style, anything that has to do with aesthetic. At the end of the day, it’s all superficial. Of course, we can enjoy these things. God has allowed us to enjoy certain things, so why not? However, if I’ve realized anything, it’s that we can’t place actual importance on these superficial things. And that can be an easy thing to slip into if we’re not careful. Once we start actually valuing the things of this world, we start going backwards from our relationship with God. And if you have never had a relationship with the Lord, placing importance on this world instead of on our Almighty God is only pulling you farther away from ever having a relationship with Him.
“Large crowds were traveling with Jesus, and turning to them he said: “If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple. And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.”
Jesus did not mean to literally hate your loved ones but is putting emphasis on the fact that following Him will cost you a lot. Following Him doesn’t mean being lukewarm or sinning when you know you’re doing wrong, it’s completely and utterly following the Word and the plan He has for your life.
In Luke 14:33, Jesus goes on to say:
“Those of you who do not give up everything you have cannot be my disciples.”
Let’s refer back to Luke 13:25-27 for a second. Jesus literally referred to loved ones to show how much of a sacrifice you have to make to follow Him. Now let’s think back to material things like fashion, cars, and money. These things are specks of dust compared to the importance of family. This just goes to show how material things should hold absolutely no importance or determine our value in any way. In order to truly follow Jesus, we need to put down selfish, worldly desires (such as wanting to be rich, looking a certain way, etc.) and take up our cross of love, humility, wisdom, righteousness, and simplicity and bear the backlash that we will suffer as Christians. In the same way Jesus was persecuted, we as Christians will be persecuted in one way or another. We will be judged, but that’s a minor consequence compared to Christians in other parts of the world.
Looking at his disciples, he said:
“Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God. Blessed are you who hunger now, for you will be satisfied. Blessed are you who weep now, for you will laugh.
Blessed are you when people hate you, when they exclude you and insult you, and reject your name as evil, because of the Son of Man.
Rejoice in that day and leap for joy, because great is your reward in heaven. For that is how their ancestors treated the prophets.
But woe to you who are rich, for you have already received your comfort. Woe to you who are well fed now, for you will go hungry. Woe to you who laugh now, for you will mourn and weep. Woe to you when everyone speaks well of you, for that is how their ancestors treated the false prophets.”
Jesus emphasized many things to make a point, so don’t take some parts literally. You won’t be punished because you have food or have a good time, he definitely wants you to! He’s pointing out the comparison between simplicity and placing importance on the things of this world. Those who suffer, not living a lavish quality of life, or are going through tough times are the ones God is saying will receive the Kingdom of God by following Him, and will probably have a better chance because they do not have the opportunity to be materialistic or greedy. Those who value material things or people’s opinions are going down the wrong path because they aren’t placing their importance solely on God. Those who have less, have more. That’s why Jesus said it is better to be poor than it is to be rich (Luke 6:20), for they place much more importance on building themselves up spiritually than being greedy, as many who are rich inevitably end up doing if they don’t use their wealth for the greater good. Having the privilege of wealth isn’t a bad thing at all until you start placing value and importance on it. Once we desire to be rich or desire to have this or that, we can then understand we do not have a Christ-like mind and change it by asking the Lord to give us His Holy Spirit.
We can’t live a double life with God. He knows our hearts and minds, there’s no pretending with Him. If you are struggling with wanting to be accepted, placing value on material things, take it up to God and ask Him to guide and mold you into who you’re meant to be. Ask that He take all things and evil desires of this world out of your heart and replace them with pure and holy ones from Him. Dive deep into the word and learn more about who God made you to be. Find out what He has to say on righteousness, wisdom (Proverbs 8), love, and humility. Let Him change your heart. We all need Him, and He wants to show us His power and mercy, but we first have to allow Him to do so.