“If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple” (Luke 14:26). The high and holy calling of Jesus through the gospel of Christ requires us to love Jesus above all others. When we love Him we keep His commandments, and that includes godliness toward Him and righteous living among men. Consider a few competing loves.
First, there is the love of family of which Jesus speaks. The Bible proclaims, husbands, love your wives; mothers, love your children, etc. But we must love Jesus more. “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” (Matthew 10:37). Jesus calls upon us to choose. We love our parents and don’t want to disappoint them. Many a mother or father has been disappointed over their child’s obedience to the gospel of Christ, but when the way of mother or father is not the way of the Lord, we must choose the Lord’s way.
Do you “love” your job? It is good that you have an occupation you enjoy. But some love their job so much that they will choose devotion to their work or advancement in their career over obedience to the Lord. Parents should teach and show their children that occupation choice cannot be made without considering first our commitment to the Lord. For example, choosing a job that will knowingly take us away from assembling on the first day of the week is a poor choice. But worse, it is unwise and will lead to spiritual failure. “And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the day approaching” (Hebrews 10:24-25). A job can be a competing love, but we must choose the Lord’s way.
The love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, and those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare (1 Timothy 6:9-10). Love of money is not the smell of the greenback or the shimmer of the credit card; it is covetousness that includes an insatiable desire for all that the money can buy for self. This is a common love of men about which Jesus and His apostles spoke. “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth” (Matthew 6:24, NASB). It is a common love of our day, but we must choose the Lord’s way.
Finally, there is blessing and joy to be had in friendships. “A man who has friends must himself be friendly, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother” (Proverbs 18:24). However, Christians recognize that they must not be unequally yoked with unbelievers (2 Corinthians 6:14), so if a friendship becomes a drag and a detriment to his faith, he must choose between that friend and the Lord. “Do not be deceived: bad company corrupts good morals” (1 Corinthians 15:33).
We sometimes sing the song, “Jesus is all the world to me.” Is He all the world to you? Is He above all others, whether family, friend, occupation, or possessions? Jesus neither deserves nor accepts any place other than first place. To be our Lord and Master, He must be first, all the world to us.