Bible Reading: Luke 14:25-30
If you want to be my follower you must love me more than your own father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, more than your own life. Luke 14:26
When Norm was just sixteen years old and announced he had become a Christian, his mom and dad blew up. Not a little blowup, mind you. Norm’s mother actually threatened to boot him out of the house unless he gave up his faith.
Norm was nose-to-nose with a crisis. Should he obey his parents and turn his back on God? Or should he put God first and disobey his parents? With God’s help, Norm chose God, and his mother didn’t carry out her threat. For years Norm faced ridicule and criticism from his parents. During those years he kept praying for them. And in time he saw both of them trust Christ as their Savior.
God commands you to love God and people. But there are times when you need to love God more than people.
Talk about it: What do you think it means to “love God more than people”? Can you think of any examples?
Jesus said, “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, NIV). Jesus isn’t saying you should dislike or disrespect your family members. He’s using hyperbole—hyped-up language—to teach two things.
First, he wants you to know that your love for God is to be greater than your love for any person—even those closest to you. It’s to be so great that in comparison, your love for humans doesn’t even seem to exist.
Second, he wants you to know that sometimes you need to obey God rather than people.
Suppose your parents say “no way” to you signing up for your school’s bungee-jumping club. Their order doesn’t violate any of God’s commands—so you need to obey. But what if your parents tell you to fib about your age to get a discount at the movies? Or a coach tells you to cheat? When people push you to do wrong, says Jesus, your job is to obey him instead of the people.
That’s what it looks like to love God more than people. God wants you to have an enormous love for every person in your life. But he wants you to have a love for him that’s even bigger!
TALK: Say it in your own words: What does it mean to love God even more than you love people?
PRAY: God, give us the courage to obey you first, last, and always.
ACT: Are you letting your peers push you into obeying them—at the price of obeying God? What might God like you to change today?