“If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple.” This is hyperbole, a manner of speech which exaggerates something to make a point. Jesus wants to illustrate the vast difference between the love we should have for God when compared with the love we should have for anyone or anything else including our own selves.
Take a look at how a baby learns to walk. Do we we crawl around on our bellies until the day the baby finally takes her first steps. What can we expect would happen? First, we wouldn’t get to the places we need to be and secondly, the baby would have no example to follow. The baby would learn from our example that crawling on our bellies is the way to get where we need to be. They would never walk.
We need to love our baby enough to walk a walk currently foreign to her. This necessarily means allowing for and actually demonstrating a distance between us as we do walk that walk. Family members, who’s walk with Jesus is a matter of personal and individual maturity, will naturally yield distance between us. We can’t “crawl on our bellies” waiting for them to take their first steps or they will have no example to follow. We must love them enough to be an example of loving God above all else.
Jesus gives us only two commandments. Love God with your whole heart and love your neighbor as yourself - Matthew 22:37-40. Jesus knows how to put first things first. If we don’t love God first, prioritizing our love for Him above our very spouses, what hope does our relationship with others have of “sprouting legs”?
God is calling us into a unique relationship with him, independent of the call He has for anyone else. Hanging on to relationships so tightly that we can’t launch into a relationship with God whole-heartedly, keeps us in a state of worldly-dependance. Let us walk with God that others might follow.
Love the Lord your God,
Walk in obedience to him,
Keep his commands,
Hold fast to him
Serve him with all your heart and with all your soul. -Joshua 22:5