Perhaps Luke 14:25-35 is one of the most testing portions of Scripture from Jesus lips. “Now great crowds accompanied him, and he turned and said to them, “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” (25–26).
It is evident in all the Gospels that Jesus appealed to crowds and wanted to minister to their needs, but in most cases, the crowds were more curious and self-centered than desiring to follow Him. When it came to making a commitment to follow Him, there were clear requirements. One of the requirements was a very high standard of love. Love for Jesus must make all other loves seem to be hatred by comparison. That was not all. The one who wants to follow Jesus must “hate his own life.” Elsewhere, Jesus uses the term, “deny himself” (Matthew 16:24).
What does this mean? We cannot live self-centered lives. Instead, we must live Christ-centered and ask how every word and action will affect Christ and His glory. Considerations of personal comfort and safety must be subordinated to the great task of glorifying Christ and making Him known to those who have never heard who He is and why He came.
The Savior’s words are absolute. Without this degree of commitment, you “cannot be my disciple.” Our love for Jesus must be supreme! Making this commitment also makes a difference in how fruitful we are in personal life, marriage, family, work, church and ministry.
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