Matthew 10:37 – “Whoever loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of me.”
Who do you love? Perhaps the question for some of you is rather, what do you love? Either way, you and I both are loving people. Meaning that we feel fond affection for others or for something else outside of ourselves. The question is why? Why do I feel the way I do about Falcon’s football? Why do you feel the way you do about that genre of music or the particular poet? Clearly the answer lies not in description but in emotion. Something about the object of our affections draws us out of ourselves and up and into itself, and we find it, pleasurable. So what is it? What do you love? Got it? Now ask the harder question: why?
Jesus always got to the root of issues. In conversing with a young rich man about his desire to follow Him, Jesus revealed the rich man’s first love – money. He must lose it, give it up and throw it away, before coming to Christ. Good teachers do this, they don’t focus on the fruit showing itself but on the root giving life to the fruit. If the root is dealt with, that fruit will change accordingly. If the young rich man forsook his love of money, his heart would grab ahold of Christ. But he didn’t.
In the two verses above Jesus makes a startling demand. He must be foremost in our affections. We cannot love Him along with another in the same way and in the same relation at the same time. Jesus is not into taking the back seat in our “loves.” If we do not love Him in this manner what is the consequent result? We are counted as unworthy of Christ. Why? Because upon looking at that which is supremely valuable, Christ, we said no by continuing to hold something else (mother, father, son, daughter, sport) over or above Christ. This is the epitome of arrogance. We think we know what is best for us, what is good for us to love and pour our hearts into. The only problem is that our hearts, the very center of this affection of love, is riddled through and through with sin, so much so that Jeremiah calls our hearts “wicked above all things, deceptively horrid.” (Jeremiah 17:9)
What then is our hope in seeking to love that which is most worthy of love? God must open our heart, and pour His own love into us for us to have any hope of loving Him in return. This is exactly what was foreshadowed in the Mosaic Covenant, and bought for us at the cross.
Here is our hope: “And the Lord your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your offspring, so that you will love the Lord your God with all of your heart and with all of your soul, that you may live.” (Deut. 30:6)
God is not a meanie atop an ant hill making the ants love Him nor is He acting like a vain woman seeking compliment. He is in the business of graciously turning men’s hearts back to what they were originally designed to feast upon, Him. This act of God, is love defined.