Family isn’t everything.

One verse that always stops me in my tracks is Matthew 10:37,

"Anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me;

anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.”

The first time I read that as an adult, pursuing a relationship with Jesus, I nearly threw in the towel.

Like, oh, okay, that doesn’t sound very gracious. To think, I hadn’t even had my children yet…

I went on a little adventure with this scripture and read a million commentaries, and reread them… then watched some youtube sermons, then chatted with some friends…

But it was still SO HARD TO READ THIS VERSE! Why?

One night I felt God nudge me to talk to HIM about it. The whole time I was on this endeavor for an explanation I hadn’t really talked to God about it. I sat there in bed surrendering my thoughts and heart to Him. If I’m honest, at first, I didn’t feel worthy to talk to him about it because I didn’t understand it. It seemed like I was struggling with loving my family more. I thought for sure he was mad at me for struggling this way, as I was so clearly unable to meet the command hidden in the verse.

It was in those first few minutes of talking to Him that He began using the mindset I was in to show me just how damaging it is when we love other things more than Him.

When we put other things above God, we don’t walk fully in his love or righteousness. This verse wasn’t given to us because God is desperate for our attention. He isn’t needy and grappling to be first place. God is in all of His glory right now; not needing a single human being to fulfill Him. It was in LOVE that He created you and I. With the intention that we might love Him back and spread His glory across the entire earth. You see, when we look at scriptures like these and immediately read them as condemning, untouchable commands, we take away the grace in which they were given to us.

If God is perfect in every way, fully loving and is desiring relationship with you and I, why wouldn’t he expect us to keep Him above everyone else? When we do this; when we keep Him in the proper place of number one, we are experiencing a more pure relationship with God in which all other relationships will prosper.

If I “love” my kids more then God, I am totally missing the opportunity to actually love them with the holiness and magnitude that God created me for. When we love God as our first love, we see fruit in the way we are able to love everyone else. Loving God more then everything else brings us more satisfaction then anything else could.

1 John 4:19 says:

We love because He first loved us.

We can’t love outside of knowing God, at least not in the way He designed us to love. I am working on a post all about the true definition of love, expected to publish around Valentines Day! I can’t wait for that one.

Don’t forget that the enemy twists and perverts every good thing that God creates in efforts to distract us from finding the truth. His aim is that we believe lies or that we settle for a twisted version of the truth. We see this right from the start with Adam and Eve in the garden. What does the devil do? He talks to Eve, twisting the very words and intentions of God. God IN LOVE, clearly guided Adam and Eve away from harm. The Devil? Clearly guided them directly to it. We HAVE to believe God’s intentions are always good. Even when we are reading harder verses, like Matthew 10:37.

Back when I read that verse for the first time, I read it as condemning. I read it while listening to the lie that God was mad at me for struggling to understand. I read it worried I loved my family more, which brought on shame and guilt. I read it listening to the voice that said, “Does God actually think you can do this?” But in His GOODness, God nudged me to talk to Him about it. “Hey, Shelly… come to me. You are burdened and heavy laden. I will give you rest.”

As I opened my heart and let God minister the truth of this scripture to me, I felt so much joy flood in.

It hit me hard and quick: “Of course I don’t want to love anyone else more then you, God! You are the only one that gives me life, you saved me, you gave me everything.”

Maybe you’re in a place in your faith where you haven’t settled some of the harder verses like this one. Let me give you some peace of mind in that it is okay. We are all on a journey and we are all in different places. I pray for you to seek God and that you trust him while you wait for him to speak to you.

My Conviction: It is good and right to put every thing second to Christ. I love my family, but they aren’t everything to me. They don’t save me, they don’t fulfill me, they don’t define me. God does those things. And as I grow in my true identity, I love my family so much better.

Having a Joyful Family is so important to me.

I can best serve my family with Joy when I am walking in the truth that God is my ultimate treasure. Some days I wake up and I think to myself, “this life is too good to be true.” And then I wipe a couple poopy butts and think, it’s not too good to be true, but it’s truly good. I seriously love my family, they bring me so much joy. But I love Jesus way more.

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Shelly Jata