God says that if we leave our mother and father and our sisters and brothers, even our spouses, we will receive a hundred times more and receive eternal life. In Luke, He states, “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 14:26). It sounds pretty extreme, doesn’t it? Here’s what this important passage means and how it applies to modern-day living.
God knows the word hate is a strong word, but he uses it by choice. He’s not telling us to spew anger and wrath against our family members and then look to Him with star-gazing eyes, brimmed with tears of gratitude. To hate something, by definition, is to dislike something with intense passion or to feel an extreme hostility towards. I think it’s simpler than we think; we need to love God with such an intense passion and extreme love that our earthly love for our mother and father and brothers and sisters, even our own lives, simply can’t measure. By doing so, we wouldn’t refuse God when He calls us to do something we didn’t think he had planned for us. Rather, it would be much like breathing air; we know it would sustain us and bring us life to the fullest. It wouldn’t feel like a burden, even if it involved leaving our family members. That is sacrifice.
Dying Of The Self
To be God’s disciple means picking up our crosses and following Him. What is our cross, though? Is it each of our own callings? Our burdens? For Jesus, the cross literally meant death by crucifixion. For us, it looks a lot like the dying of the self. Are you ready to die for Christ? Jesus died for us, and took away the sins of the world at Calvary; that’s when death lost its sting (1 Corinthians 15:56). In our lives, we may not literally face death for Christ, but deep in our souls, would we be willing to give up our life completely for Him?
Living An Extraordinary Life
I don’t mean the jumping off sea cliffs and bathing in flowers, here. I’m talking about the life fully surrendered to Christ, and yes, it can be in the little moments – in your classroom, your art studio, at work or at home, even. Are we allowing God to breathe freely and without reproach in our ordinary places to make them extraordinary? Only God does the extraordinary; we are His vessels to use for His glory.
As you can see, “leaving” your mother and father has a lot less to do with family ties than it does your relationship to God. Consider whether you’re ready to sacrifice all for Him.
“For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it.” Matthew 16:25-26