“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.”
Most Christians have likely heard this verse, but how many have spent significant time contemplating the implications of what is profoundly stated? You must read the context of the passage to understand what Jesus has been talking about. People make all kinds of excuses for not following the Lord, at least not right now. And even those that talk about following Him, often their pursuit is conditional on any number of potential circumstances.
We know that God wants us to love our husbands and wives and children, because He instructs us to love them. The second great commandment is to love others. So, what is the point that He is making?
In Matthew, Jesus makes it clear that He is talking about a love of contrast. Those who wish to be disciples (Christians), must choose to love God more than any other person.
“He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me.”
The truth is, the only way you can love others as God has instructed is to love God supremely. If you love God with a supreme love, you will love your wife with a sacrificial love. You will love your children with a biblical love. If you love God supremely, you will trust God with all of your other loves. You will have confidence that His ways are best both for yourself and others that you love.
The person who loves self or others with a love that is greater than their love for God, or with a love that competes with their love for God, is an idolater. It is tragically easy to receive good gifts from God and then quickly choose to love those very gifts more than we love God.
The truth is, not one of us will love God with a perfect love in this life. Sin always gets in the way. Nonetheless, we must continue to strive to love God with every part of our being. We must learn to love Him with a love that exceeds all other loves in our lives. And then one day we will actually be able to love Him as He deserves, when we see Him face to face!
Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is.
1 John 3:2
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