Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Loving Jesus More

Luke 14:26

If you want to be my disciple, you must hate everyone else by comparison—your father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even your own life. Otherwise, you cannot be my disciple. NLT

112015 Ray McDonaldThis is a hard passage to understand. In the NIV it reads this way: Luke 14:26 – 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. Either reading is tough.

I have a wife and three daughters and I never imagined I could love anyone more than these four – that was until my four granddaughters came along. We’re a tight family – and we miss my dad and my father-in-law greatly – we love them dearly. We love our moms too. Family is very important to us. Yet here is the Bible – even the words of Jesus Himself – telling us that our love for family needs to be so much less than our love for Him – that it is almost like we hate them in comparison.

Maybe this is what the church is missing these days. The church seems to put self and even family above Christ at times. If the family has something to do – ball games – picnics – late Saturday nights – etc. – at times we will put our public worship of God on the back burner. I mean – I’m not even dealing with where we put our daily devotions and our prayer life when it comes to sporting events – the news – our favorite TV shows – etc.

In the coming weeks we will begin to deal with the In Between stuff in our lives. The things that come between us and where we know we should be in our walk with Jesus. For instance – we know – according to the Bible – we should have a stellar prayer life with Jesus – yet we also know that our prayer life falls short of that goal (whatever that might look like). What is it that keeps us from spending more time in prayer with Jesus? What have we elevated above our prayer life?

Another example – which I eluded to early – we know the Bible calls us to not giving up meeting together as some are in the habit of doing. We also know that Jesus set the example of being regular in the public worship of God. Yet – some of us are not regular in our attendance in worship. Yesterday many churches were packed – and I would assume – if they were like our church – they didn’t have a lot of strangers – just all the people connected to the church attended on the same Sunday. I mentioned to my congregation that we should be packed like Easter every week – because we all are called to meet together. So what is it that comes In Between where we know we should be and where we actually find ourselves?

Here’s today passage in partial context. It is from a section titled – The Cost of Being a Disciple. Luke 14:25-33 – 25 A large crowd was following Jesus. He turned around and said to them, 26 “If you want to be my disciple, you must hate everyone else by comparison—your father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even your own life. Otherwise, you cannot be my disciple. 27 And if you do not carry your own cross and follow me, you cannot be my disciple. 28 “But don’t begin until you count the cost. For who would begin construction of a building without first calculating the cost to see if there is enough money to finish it? 29 Otherwise, you might complete only the foundation before running out of money, and then everyone would laugh at you. 30 They would say, ‘There’s the person who started that building and couldn’t afford to finish it!’ 31 “Or what king would go to war against another king without first sitting down with his counselors to discuss whether his army of 10,000 could defeat the 20,000 soldiers marching against him? 32 And if he can’t, he will send a delegation to discuss terms of peace while the enemy is still far away. 33 So you cannot become my disciple without giving up everything you own. NLT

I think this next sermon series – In Between – will be a challenge for us. I believe that many who call themselves Christians today may be fooling themselves. Salvation is free – but like we said Sunday – we are called to love God with our all. Mark 12:30 – Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. We can fool each other and we can fool the pastor – but we cannot fool God – and God is the judge of all!

Just something to think about today as you go on your way.

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March 28, 2016 - Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Marriage, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Sermons, Theology, Worship | , , , , , , ,

2 Comments »

  1. REV RAY,

    I READ YOUR POST EVERYDAY, ALONG WITH MY UPPER ROOM MY DAILY DEVOTIANAL JOYCE MEYER, AND JOEL OLSTEEN.

    YOU ARE CORRECT I DON’T KNOW HOW TO TAKE WHAT YOU JUST WROTE. DOSE THIS MEAN I CAN NOT LOVE MY FAMILY AND FRIENDS,

    WHEN THE BIBLE SAYS LOVE YOUR NEIGBORS OR CAN I LOVE THEM JUST A LITTLE BIT.

    I DO LOVE GOD AND BABY JESUS I TELL BOTH OF THEM DAILY, I DON’T UNDERSTAND ARE WE ALSO SUPPOSE TO SACARFICE OUR LOVE ONES

    BUT IT IS TRUE, THE GOOD LORD KNOWS WHAT I AM THINKING AND HE KNOWS I LOVE

    HIM PLEASE HELP ME

    WITH LOVE AND KIND REGARDS

    BOBBI DUSTIN

    PS

    I CAN NOT SPELL WELL OR TYPE SO OVER LOOK IT PLEASE.

    ________________________________

    Like

    Comment by bobbi dustin | March 28, 2016 | Reply

    • Bobbi, we are to love our family members. We are simply called to love God so much more. Jesus loved us so much He gave His life for us. When He bought us with His blood, our lives no longer belong to us, but rather they belong to Him. We are to deny ourselves and follow Jesus. Part of following Jesus is to love Him more than any other, so much more, that by comparison, in our limited human language, it is like hate and love. Hope that helps. If not, let me know and I will try again.

      Like

      Comment by raymcdonald | March 28, 2016 | Reply


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