Discipleship: Relative Hate on the Trail

“Large crowds were traveling with Jesus, and turning to them he said: ‘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.’ ” (Luke 14:25-26)

We left Jesus’ shocking statement hanging in yesterday’s devo. He challenged the large crowds following him with three requirements to truly be his disciple. The first was this one: hate your family and your life.

disciples_350It’s shocking because we know from the rest of the Bible that Jesus and the Word tell us to do exactly the opposite. We’re instructed to take care of our kids and parents, love our wives, and NOT to hate our brothers.

Sometimes, though, Jews used the word hate to compare the intensity of love between one thing and another. Jesus said his true disciples would love him so intensely that all other loves looked like hate. Another way to say it is that to follow and obey Jesus is to love our families with a little cold-heartedness out of love and commitment to him, not because of an unlimited love and commitment for them.

It’s the first hard requirement for discipleship.

Think: Can you imagine loving Jesus so intensely that your love for your family looks like hate by comparison? Can you imagine loving your family so obediently because you love Jesus and not because they deserve it?

Pray: Ask God to increase the intensity of your love and commitment for Jesus. Ask him to help you to love your family because you love Jesus more.

Do: Express your love for Jesus by going out of your way to do one kind thing for a member of your family today. Bonus points if it’s the person you’re least interested in being kind to.