God First, Family Second… so the cliché runs… But is it really true anymore even for believers? That was the question we chased this past weekend. Jesus is full or love and grace. He accepts people as they are. However, He invites them in that condition to become His followers.
The simple call to follow Jesus means much more than a passing glance reveals. One of the answers to the question of what it means to follow Jesus is: Following Jesus means developing a priority love for Him. There are currents that pull many away.
Two of Jesus’ most difficult sayings reveal this truth.
Luke 14:26 “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.
Matt. 10:37 “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.
What does it look like to follow Jesus? It means developing a priority love for Him.
What does Jesus mean really? I thought God was love. Aren’t we supposed to love? Is Jesus is here requiring every disciple to hate those whom He elsewhere commands us to love. Not at all! Rather, He is speaking of loving family or putting family above their faith relationship with Him.
We love out of his love for us! This requires first receiving His love and responding to Him with PRIORITY love. He becomes first in our heart. Here are some things to remember if we are going to really do this.
First, Be Careful that Family Desires Don’t Keep You From Following Jesus.
Following Jesus creates relational tension with those who don’t. Really following Jesus will change you. This scares family who don’t understand. What will you do if they push back or ask you to take Jesus less seriously?
Demands & desires of family can distract some from following Jesus as well. With good intention many increase family time in a way that leaves Jesus behind. The increase of weekend options have left many families claiming attachment to Jesus without ever connecting to His family in shared worship, service or growth.
Second, Deepen Your Love for Jesus through Learning & Following His Commands.
John 14:15 “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.
The world offers much to siphon our love for Jesus. Like going to a sophisticated carnival. Pilgrims progress called it Vanity Fair. Many different things are offered to make us feel good whatever that happens to be for each person. All are designed to distract us from our core need to be restored by our creator.
Love for God is the most important command. Growing in our love for Him is just like a good marriage. It requires making a priority of learning from and responding to Him. The Bible helps us discover more about him and what He desires. The more we respond to it. The greater priority our love for Him becomes. But who will love my family while I do this?
Finally, We must Trust that Priority Love for Jesus will Improve Your Love for Others.
1Timothy 1:5 But the goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.
Without Jesus’ love we will NEVER love our families well. Our love is broken, polluted and more self-centered than we realize. Test yourself: how do you feel when your spouse or kids when they play a part in things NOT going your way.
Truly following Jesus should refine you to love your family better. The Bible is full of instruction on loving others well BECAUSE OF our love for Jesus. We find the boot camp of incredible love in 1Corinthians 13. You could spend a decade of training just there. If you do, your family will be very well loved.
What does it look like to follow Jesus? It means developing a priority love for Him. A love that don’t allow even family desires to keep you from following Him. A love that trusts what He will do when you deepen your love for Him. Is there something to someone sitting is a greater priority in your heart than Jesus? You believe you need that more than you need Him? Are you really OK with that? Release it so you can follow Him as the priority love of your life.
To catch the whole sermon, go to http://www.parkviewfamily.com.