Unconditional Allegiance

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.
–Luke 14:26

In Luke 14, Jesus gave us the requirements for being a disciple. If you are going to follow Jesus, first of all, He demands unconditional allegiance. In verse 26, He said, “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.” Jesus demands our allegiance above anyone and anything else.

Now, I am as patriotic as the next person. But we should never confuse our love for our country with our love for Jesus Christ. Quite frankly, it makes me uneasy when we stand up in a service and pledge allegiance to the flag of our country, and then in the next breath we pledge allegiance to Jesus Christ and His kingdom. We never want to give the idea that those are on equal planes. Jesus said our unconditional allegiance belongs to Him and Him alone.

But in this passage, Jesus dealt with something even more personal than our allegiance to our country, and that is our allegiance to our own family. He said, “If anyone comes to Me, and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters . . . he cannot be My disciple.” Doesn’t the Bible say we are supposed to honor our father and mother and love our children? Why would Jesus call on us to hate our family?

We need to understand this word “hate” in the biblical context. This word does not carry the idea of emotional ill will. Perhaps the best example comes from Romans 9:13, where Paul talked about God choosing Jacob over Esau. God said, “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.” Did God have emotional ill will toward Esau? Not really. But in God’s sovereign plan, He chose to bless Jacob over Esau. So the word “hate” here carries the idea of a choice. Jesus was saying, “If it ever comes down to serving your family or serving God, a true disciple will always choose God over family.” That goes against not just our secular culture but our Christian culture today. We are told, “Family above everything. Family above all.” But Jesus said, “God above all.”

Maybe you are trying to be a faithful follower of Christ, and it is causing friction in your home. You are tempted to compromise, to give up or give in. Jesus said, “No. If you are going to follow Me, it means an unconditional allegiance.”

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Today’s devotion is excerpted from “Becoming Salty Saints” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2008.

Scripture quotations taken from the (NASB®) New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. All rights reserved. www.lockman.org

 

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