Why does Jesus say to hate your family?

Why does Jesus say to hate your family?

No matter how rocky my family relationships were, they were always the most important thing in my life. I sacrificed much for them and did whatever I could to get their approval for years. If I had read Luke 14:26 while I was growing up I would have completely missed the point. At the stage in my life that I am now, all purely by the grace of God, I have a godly husband and child, have forgiven, am healing broken relationships with my family, and have a growing relationship with God through the blood of Jesus Christ. I can now better understand what Jesus is saying when He tells says to hate your family.

“If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, and even his own life—he cannot be my disciple.

Luke 14:26 CSB

When I first became a follower of Jesus I had no one in my life that understood, and most people discouraged me from going down this path at all. I was often mocked for my faith, my shortcomings were hung over me, and I was treated as though I could never be different, that my faith was a joke, and that it was for no one’s good. I lost my friends, I grew distant from my family, and I took time to focus on my relationship with God, my understanding of His Word, and being filled with the strength I needed to stand firm.

He gives strength to the faint

and strengthens the powerless.

Isaiah 40:29 CSB

Luke 14 came to me again after spending some time with my dad recently, after not seeing him for around two years. In all that time I’d thought I was going to be separated from them forever. I thought I would never have a good relationship with my family. No matter how broken and hurtful my relationships were with my family, I have always deeply desired to be in a relationship with as much of my family as possible. I am big on family and this separation ate at me. I had made peace with being separated from them, though, because I knew God had called me to withdraw and I trusted His plan, even if it hurt and didn’t make sense to me at the time.

Why does Jesus say to hate your family?
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God removes distractions to bring our focus to Him

After spending time with my dad again I realized that I had needed to get to the point where I was willing to sacrifice those relationships in order to put God first. I needed to get to a point where obedience to my Heavenly Father was worth any price I was asked to pay, even separation from my earthly father, mother, brothers, and sisters. I needed to take people off the throne that only Christ belongs in my life.

Sometimes God will call us away from relationships in order to rightly align our hearts to Him. In Luke 14:26 Jesus is telling us that we should love Him so much that it would seem in comparison that we hate our own family. He is not saying to actually hate your family but to put obedience to and love for Him first no matter the cost. He is telling us that there is a cost to following Him and that we must be willing to put His will and instruction first in our lives at all times, no matter what that cost is, even unto our own lives.

To follow Christ we must to be willing to give our full life to Him

I experienced this on a bit of an extreme level over the last several years. After a while, I was willing to give up these relationships with my family in order to honor and obey God. In this willingness to obediently sacrifice these relationships, God changed my heart and my priorities. I no longer live to serve other’s expectations or desires for me or fulfill the labels people have given me all my life. I am firmly planted as a Child of God, and His will is the only one I strive to follow. This has brought me peace, joy, and great humility. God has been healing me and teaching me His truth, love, and kindness.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has passed away, and see, the new has[a] come!

2 Corinthians 5:17 CSB

Therefore, I say this and testify in the Lord: You should no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thoughts.

Ephesians 4:17 CSB

To follow Christ you must let Him transform you

The last conversation I had with my family was that of forgiveness, love, and renewal. God has changed my heart, aligning my life and heart with Him, so that now I can be effective in all the work He has created for me to do for His glory, which includes being an example to my family. I prayed for them the whole time of separation, and I am seeing that God has been working in them as well. We are all works in progress, and He is always working in all of us whether we recognize it or not.

For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared ahead of time for us to do.

Ephesians 2:10 CSB

Whatever you do, do it from the heart, as something done for the Lord and not for people,

Colossians 3:23 CSB

Are you faithfully following Jesus?

Is there something getting in the way of you putting God first in your life?

Are you obeying God over pleasing people in your life?

Are the labels given by those around you clinging to you, or the new name God has given you in Christ?

Are you loving Christ so much that it would be as if you hate your own family in comparison?

“If you love me, you will keep[a] my commands.

John 14:15 CSB

If you love Him, you will obey Him. If you obey Him in faith and love, you will find such great blessing, humility, mercy, and grace. You will experience what love really means and truly feels like.

So if you have been raised with Christ, seek the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.

Colossians 3:1 CSB

Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.

Deuteronomy 6:5 CSB

Are you willing to love God this much?

What is the source of humility?

What is the source of humility?

Pride is a dangerous thing, and certainly something no one wants to admit to. Knowing that pride began with Satan and influenced people all the way back in the Garden of Eden tells us that pride is a tactic Satan is going to keep planting and using for his purposes. Humility is the opposite of pride. It is important to understand and know where it comes from as well in order to better identify pride, defeat it, warn against it and keep your heart clean of it. So, what is the source of humility and how can we identify it against the sin of pride?

12 Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.

Colossians 3:12 NLT

12 But those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.

Matthew 23:12 NLT

God opposes pride. Scripture tells us that pride will bring destruction and will be broken down. If we choose to let pride grow in our hearts, fail to repent of it, and humble ourselves, we see examples from cover to cover that God will humble us Himself. How do we know, though, when we are in need of humbling? How do we know when God is warning us against pride?

In the same way, you who are younger must accept the authority of the elders. And all of you, dress yourselves in humility as you relate to one another, for

“God opposes the proud
    but gives grace to the humble.”[a]

1 Peter 5:5 NLT

Daniel and King Nebuchadnezzar

A great example in scripture can be found in Daniel. God had given Judah over to King Nebuchadnezzar, who took some young men captive to serve in his household. Among them were Daniel (renamed Belteshazzar), Mishael (renamed Meshach), Hananiah (renamed Shadrach), and Azariah (renamed Abed-Nego). They were sent into the care of the eunuchs. From there, they were in the epicenter of the gluttonous court of King Nebuchadnezzar.

In the second year of King Nebuchadnezzar’s reign, he had a dream that none of his astrologers, sorcerers, or Chaldeans could interpret. The king became so distraught over the dream he threatened death if they could not interpret the dream for him. Still, they could not, so he began killing them.

Daniel discovered this, asked the king if he could be given a chance to interpret, had his companions pray to God with him for wisdom, and God granted him the interpretation in a night vision. He immediately praised God for this wisdom, then went to tell the king of this revelation. In Daniel boldly and humbly approaching the king with the wisdom granted him by God, the King recognized God as the “God of gods”.

But later, King Nebuchadnezzar made a golden image and commanded all the people to worship it, and commanded that those who failed to worship the idol would be cast into the fiery furnace. Daniel and his companions refused to worship the idol and only worship God Himself. They told the king that they knew God would deliver them if they were cast into the fiery furnace. The King in his pride was enraged, cast them into the fire, and watched as God kept His promise, and saved the humble men in the fire.

Again, King Nebuchadnezzar was astounded by what God had done and praised God. But unfortunately again, the King continued in his pride, and God gave him another dream which Daniel then interpreted. He told the king what God revealed to him, that the king would be cast down to live like a wild animal until he acknowledges that God is the Ruler of all men and that all power and provisions are from God alone.

Daniel warned the king and encouraged him to turn from his sin, to be righteous and merciful, but the king refused and God did as He had promised. King Nebuchadnezzar was cast out to live as a beast until he finally submitted to and praised God, recognizing Him as the Most High. Also as God promised, King Nebuchadnezzar was restored.

What is the source of humility?
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Why do we need to be humbled?

In his humility and trust in the Lord, Daniel stood up boldly in the promises of God and watched as God fulfilled His promises. King Nebuchadnezzar continued in his self-serving pride and God constantly used Daniel to warn the king and encourage him. Again in pride, the king kept on in his sin. Just as God fulfilled His promises to save the humble again and again, He also fulfilled His promise that pride leads to destruction.

When pride comes, then comes shame;

But with the humble is wisdom.

Proverbs 11:2 NKJV

By pride comes nothing but strife,

But with the well-advised is wisdom.

Proverbs 13:10 NKJV

Pride goes before destruction,
And a haughty spirit before [a]a fall.

Proverbs 16:18 NKJV

For You will save the humble people,

But will bring down haughty looks.

Psalm 18:27 NKJV

A man’s pride will bring him low,

But the humble in spirit will retain honor.

Proverbs 29:23 NKJV

What is the source of humility?

The sin of pride is a powerful tool the enemy uses and tricks us into believing we are greater than, know better than, can do better than God. Pride says “my way is best”, and humility says “God’s way is best”.

When we remain in our pride, God will humble us. When we fail to heed God’s warnings, He will humble us. When we fail to warn one another of the dangers of pride, we too are responsible because we choose to disobey God and not lead someone in the ways and promises of the Most High. He will humble us when we fail to place Him as the ultimate authority in every area of our lives, and the One who is worthy of all glory, honor, and praise.

“So you, son of man: I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel; therefore you shall hear a word from My mouth and warn them for Me. When I say to the wicked, ‘O wicked man, you shall surely die!’ and you do not speak to warn the wicked from his way, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood I will require at your hand. Nevertheless if you warn the wicked to turn from his way, and he does not turn from his way, he shall die in his iniquity; but you have [a]delivered your soul.

Ezekiel 33:7-9 NKJV

Humility comes from God, and to humble ourselves is to be in submission to our Holy God, recognizing His power and authority. The point is to bring us to repentance.

Even at the threat of death, while the king was murdering those who didn’t do as he commanded, Daniel stood up, stood out, and set himself apart for the Lord in faithful humility. He warned the king, the king made his choices, but Daniel was blameless and God protected him. The king was prideful and God cast him out in order to bring him to repentance. God absolutely expects the same of us, and will fulfill His promises in our lives as well.

Who are you most resembling in your life right now?

Take a look at this story of Daniel and King Nebuchadnezzar again and ask yourself the following questions:

Do you stand firm in the promises of God, even at great threat of danger, or do you seek to please the appeals and demands of people to avoid conflict or discomfort?

But Peter and the apostles answered, “We must obey God rather than men.

Acts 5:29 ESV

Do you praise God in all circumstances, giving Him the glory, credit and honor, or do you take the credit for yourself, and praise yourself and things of the world instead?

Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name;
    bring an offering and come before him!
Worship the Lord in the splendor of holiness;[a]

1 Chronicles 16:29 ESV

Do you worship God alone, or does something or someone else capture your heart and affections instead?

Put to death therefore what is earthly in you:[a] sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry.

Colossians 3:5 ESV

Do you trust that God knows best even when we only see a piece of the situation, disagree or don’t understand, or do you seek to control situations and rest on your own understandings instead?

Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
And lean not on your own understanding;

Proverbs 3:5 NKJV

Trust God, humble yourself before Him, accept His correction, and obey His instruction. Pride comes before destruction, but God will bless the humble. Set the example for others around you, and encourage others in humility. Don’t fall into the trap of pride and remain there, but if you fall in know that you can trust God to also fulfill His promise to forgive, redeem, and restore you.

Is pride a habit you need to kick?

I encourage you to pray wholeheartedly for God to reveal any unchecked pride in you, to clean your heart, restore you, and redirect your eyes in humility to God Almighty, our Mighty Promise Keeper.

Selflessness and humility

Selflessness and humility

God calls us to be humble and selfless. He wants us to “love our neighbors” and look at other’s interests as well as our own. Our God is a selfless God by giving us all of His love, attention, strength, carrying our burdens, answering us, hearing us, teaching us…we are meant to live by His example. Jesus came to us to be an example of how we are supposed to live as Servants of Christ.

Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.

Philippians 2:3-4 ESV

Here is something that I feel we are too often confused by – being selfless does NOT mean you have to be there for everyone else whenever they need or want you to be. Being selfless does not mean that you can’t think about yourself ever.

Being humble doesn’t mean you have to just bow down and say “yes” all the time, let people push you around, allow others to pour everything on you that they need to be lifting to the Lord.

You are not God. You need to stop assuming responsibility for other people’s hardships. It is not yours to bare. You carry your own to the cross and lay them at the feet of Jesus…but you don’t have to carry the weight of the world to the cross. Their burdens are not your crosses to bare.

What does God tell us about this?

For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people. For among them are those who creep into households and capture weak women, burdened with sins and led astray by various passions, always learning and never able to arrive at a knowledge of the truthJust as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so these men also oppose the truth, men corrupted in mind and disqualified regarding the faith. But they will not get very far, for their folly will be plain to all, as was that of those two men.

2 Timothy 3:2-9 ESV

We are given a warning about those who will be “lovers of self” and instructs us to avoid them. They consume us, “capture” us when we are weak. They pour their burdens onto us out of selfishness. Those who have a true relationship with Christ do not do this to other people. They seek their own pleasures and will destroy you and watch you crumble beneath them.

Unfortunately, I think everyone has someone like this in their life at one point or another and we never really know how to handle the situation. I know personally I always want to help people. I’m a “fixer” – that is what everyone who knows me well calls me. But what you have to remember is that you can’t fix the world. That is the burden of Christ, not of us, His humble servants. Our job is to live by His example and surround ourselves with like-minded people and grow in our relationships with Christ and lovers of Christ. Through this we shine our light and spread love and knowledge.

I thank God whom I serve, as did my ancestors, with a clear conscience, as I remember you constantly in my prayers night and day. As I remember your tears, I long to see you, that I may be filled with joy. I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, dwells in you as well. For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands, for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.

2 Timothy 1:3-7 ESV

He tells us to remember that our sincere and true faith brings us through any trial we face. God has given us all our own gifts to use. He reminds us to “fan into the flame the gift of God”. He gives us self-control which aides us in leading a selfless and humble existence.

Our Lord wants us to use the gifts He gave us to spread His light through us. This does not mean we have to be the light for those who refuse to see the light. Avoid people who consume your light and drain it out of you. Avoid those who make you forget your true destiny, your true calling from Christ. Avoid those who put you in the shadows.

Stand up and love yourself by surrounding yourself with other selfless lovers of Christ. Don’t be afraid. Fear is not from Christ. Hand your fears to Him and walk in faith that He will always be there for you.

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