We Must Put Jesus First

Gary Chapman  and R. York Moore
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Jesus said, “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” (Luke 14:26). Yes, He really said that. He said this while He was surrounded by lots of new people. He had just left a very exciting party and there were suddenly all sorts of people tagging along for all sorts of reasons. Do you think Jesus really meant that they should actually hate their loving parents? Do you think Jesus really means that we should hate our siblings? No. Jesus often used an intentionally abrasive, in-your-face style of communicating to get people’s attention and jar them out of assumed patterns of thought—particularly when it came to our relationship with God!

Often, we become so used to a way of thinking and feeling that the only way to consider a different perspective is to get a wake-up call—and that is what Jesus’ words are: an intentional wake-up call about the importance of putting God first.

“You can’t devote your relational time to God and others equally and expect to be the person God created you to be.”

What Jesus means here is that if our relationship with Him isn’t primary, doesn’t make all other relationships pale in comparison, we can’t really know Him or follow Him. Jesus is not being selfish or unrealistic, He is stating a matter of fact. Our relationship with Him must be unique. It has to be special in a way that makes even our most treasured relationships, like our family ties, seem hostile by comparison.

Jesus also uses the word “disciple.” In our day, this word has only religious meaning, but in Jesus’ day, the word was used to describe anyone who was radically following someone else for any sort of profession. You could be a “disciple” of a mason, a jeweler, a carpenter . . . it is simply a term to reflect a level of devotion that is intense, prolonged, unique, and singular. One could never be a disciple of both a mason and a jeweler.

To be a disciple required putting everything else second, being laser-focused on following the example and instruction of your employer for a prolonged period of time. We think of this singular, intense kind of commitment required of medical interns in residency and it makes sense to us—that level of devotion is vital if they are to truly learn and immerse themselves in their life-enhancing, life-saving profession. You can’t devote your time to multiple professions and expect to become an expert simultaneously in all of them. You can’t devote your relational time to God and others equally and expect to be the person God created you to be.

For Further Reading:

Seen. Known. Loved.

by Gary Chapman and R. York Moore

In a world of varying beliefs and endless opportunities, determining how to spend our lives can seem impossible. And even more difficult than...

book cover for Seen. Known. Loved.