“Jesus said, ‘If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother, and wife and children, and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple.'”
What in the world does that mean? You can’t be a disciple of Jesus unless you hate your mom and dad, your wife and kids, your family, your brothers and sisters, unless you hate your own life. That’s straight from the mouth of Jesus. What does that mean? Because we know in other places in the Bible, we are commanded to love our father and mother, to honor them, to love our spouse, to love our children, to love our brothers and sisters and care for them.
Your love for Christ should make your closest relationships in this world look like hate in comparison.
So what does this mean when Jesus says, “If anybody comes to me and doesn’t hate these people …”? Well, it’s pretty clear based on this text as well as others like it, I think about Matthew Chapter 10 when Jesus says something very similar but says, “Whoever does not love me more than his mother or father, more than his wife or children.” So the picture here is comparison and the meaning is crystal clear. For a follower of Jesus, your love for Him should make your closest relationships in this world look like hate in comparison. So is that true of your life? I love my mom, my dad who went to be with the Lord years ago unexpectedly, my best friend in the world. I love my parents. I love my wife so much. She is my best friend. I care for her more than anybody else. I think about my kids. I love my kids so much. I so want to protect them, provide for them, care for them. I think about my brothers, I have two brothers, one sister, I care for them. I think about my family, and then I think my own life. Reality is I love my life.
Jesus says, “Your love for me, David, should make that kind of love, like the depth of love you experience for your family, look like hate in comparison to your love for me. Your love for me should be superior, and far superior, on a whole another plane, on a whole another level.” The beauty is when that’s the case, when our love for Jesus is supreme, then, then we are best able to love our mom and dad; then we’re best able to love our wife or husband and our kids; then we’re best able to love our brothers and sisters; and then we’re best able to live.
Like everything in the Christian life springs from superior love for Christ. When my heart is enthralled with Jesus, then I know how to best love my wife as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her. When my heart is enthralled with Jesus, I know how to best love and care for my kids, and lead them in what really matters. When my love for Jesus is supreme … this is what Jesus taught us. The first and greatest commandment is to love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, all your strength. Then when that’s happening, then you love your neighbor as yourself. They go together, these two commandments.
So here in Luke 14:26, we are compelled to pray: God cause our hearts to be enthralled with Jesus above all today. Like, help us God to love you with all our heart, and all our soul, and all our mind, and all our strength. You, you are so loving. We love because you first loved us. We praise you for your love for us. God, I love you and I want to grow in love for you and I pray that on behalf of others who are listening right now, God, we want to grow in love for you. We want to love you with all our heart and soul and mind and strength. We want to be so enthralled with you, so filled with affection and adoration and enjoyment of and exaltation of you, and in this to experience all that you’ve designed for us in a relationship with you, and then all that you’ve designed for us in relationship with others.
God, help us not to get this wrong. Help us not to love good gifts in our lives more than you as the giver of those good gifts. You’ve given me, us, so many good gifts and people around us, family members, friends who love us, care for us, who have influenced us in so many different ways. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you for those gifts, but we confess, we recognize right now, they are gifts. You’re the giver. They have been given from your hands, so we exalt you. We love you. We praise you, we worship you, and we pray that you would help us to love you in such a way that even our closest relationships in this world look like hate in comparison. We pray you’d help us to love you in such a way that we lay down our lives and love supremely for you. Teach us what that means today. Increase our affection for you, above all. We pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.
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