As I read through Luke, I realize just how much I appreciate his telling of the gospel. As much as I love the detailed, endearing report in Matthew, and the to-the-point account in Mark, Luke somehow finds a way to cut straight to the chase, without sparing any of the details that cut straight to the heart. But, you know, that's just me. ... Well, actually, it's God speaking to me through Luke. In Luke 3:8, God said to me, "Your lineage - your history - that's not what I care about. Your traditions are not what I'm interested in. I want your heart. It's your heart I long for. I want each of my children's individual hearts."
You see, I sense that a lot of us like to fall back on tradition, or on our history of "goodness", instead of facing the hard stuff. We like to think that doing good and following the rules will get us by -- we won't draw attention to ourselves, avoiding uncomfortable confrontations, and yet we won't be completely ignoring the God who saves -- we'll still be "following His rules." The thing is, following Christ has never been and will never be politically correct. It'll never be completely socially accepted, and while many of us are, thank God, spared from physical persecution, we are persecuted by the outpouring of the hearts and minds of others -- through their words, expectations, and social standards.
But listen. You are not your own. It's not the world you belong to, though -- you belong to a God who is greater than all of the "stuff" the world challenges you with; you belong to a God who is greater than the good and bad things of your past. He wants your heart -- He wants you to love Him so much that none of the past or the future matters to you. You can separate yourself from the things of the world, because in reality, it's just your heart, in His hands.