One of the first things I learned when I got married was how to fight. I didn't know there were rules! I just thought whoever raises their voice the loudest wins and whoever walks out first loses. But there are actual rules, believe it or not. And those rules are meant to prevent fights like I just described. The first rule is do not use absolutes. For example, "he never takes out the trash" or "she always leaves the cap off the toothpaste". Don't use absolutes because they often aren't absolutely true.
But that's marriage. Living our lives in faith through Jesus Christ requires us to accept absolutes. We live in a world that likes to be grey. We don't like black and white, cut and dry distinctions. We explain away things and rationalize and make excuses because always and nevers are uncomfortable.
But Jesus isn't wishy-washy. He is absolute. And if we really call ourselves his disciples, that means we cannot explain him away. And that makes us want to squirm.
A couple of his always and nevers (from the 2010 NIV):
Luke 14:26-27 "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."
John 13:34-35 "A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another."
Imagine Jesus telling you that you cannot be his disciple. Or that it would be easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for you to get to heaven? Absolute. There is nothing wishy-washy here.
Paul gets his licks in too:
Romans 14:23b "...everything that does not come from faith is sin."
1 Corinthians 10:31 "So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God."
And not to be left out is Jesus' brother James:
James 4:17 "If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn't do it, it is sin for them."
As challenging as these are, this list is not exhaustive. The Bible is full of always and nevers, anyone and everyones, will nots and cannots. Absolutes.
Are you living your life absolutely for God?