Is there sacrificial evidence in my life that I love Jesus more than myself and my family?
25 Large crowds were traveling with Jesus, and turning to them he said: 26 "If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters—yes, even his own life—he cannot be my disciple. 27 And anyone who does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple. 28 "Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Will he not first sit down and estimate the cost to see if he has enough money to complete it? 29 For if he lays the foundation and is not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule him, 30 saying, 'This fellow began to build and was not able to finish.' 31 "Or suppose a king is about to go to war against another king. Will he not first sit down and consider whether he is able with ten thousand men to oppose the one coming against him with twenty thousand? 32 If he is not able, he will send a delegation while the other is still a long way off and will ask for terms of peace. 33 In the same way, any of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be my disciple.
INSIGHT: Jesus is not asking us to literally hate our family in this passage, any more than He is literally asking us to gouge out our eye in Mat 5:29. He is using hyperbole, as He often does, to stress or exaggerate a very important point. Hate, in this context, means to love less and to obey second. Jesus makes it very clear that we must not follow anyone else’s commands before His. We must love our lives and families less than we do Him. This is a sacrifice and this is why Jesus asks us to count the cost, not our blessings.He created us for Him, and we owe our entire existence and full allegiance to Him, even when it causes pain for or conflict with others that we love. (This excludes children who are to submit to the house authority of parents, except if asked to do evil.)
When my first wife left me, God asked me to turn the other cheek, fire my divorce attorney, and to trust Him alone for my defense. He spoke clearly to me, but because my children and financial future were at risk, it made absolutely no sense to anyone around me. My parents and their friends begged me for months not to be so ignorant and not to do this. My mother persecuted me relentlessly for my foolish faith in God and put a tremendous amount of pressure on me to obey her, not God.
Nevertheless, I chose to fully obey God, no matter the cost. In the end, God did one of the most amazing miracles I have ever seen to defend me in court. As a result of my willingness to obey God, and to love Him more than my parents and my children, today my mother is in love with Jesus, and God is using my story to literally save people’s lives and bring others into deep relationship with Christ.
It is not easy to do at first, but you cannot lose when you love and obey Christ over anyone else. Obey God, and leave all the results to Him.