"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. Otherwise, you cannot be My disciple."
- Luke 14:26 NLT
A few months ago, I heard from a lady I know who has a son in the military. She told me how her son had a Christmas furlough coming, and he had decided to spend it with friends, instead of his family. This lady was so bitterly disappointed in her son that she told him their relationship would never be the same, even if he changed his plans to suit her. Her bitterness began to consume her, and she started to experience a systematic breakdown in her physical and mental health. When I tried to convince her to reach out to the Lord in her time of despair, she remained cold and unreceptive.
It grieved me to think that this woman's world was coming to an end because of her disappointment in one of her children. Part of me thought, "How could she let this happen?" And the other part of me wondered, "Could this ever happen to me?" I began thinking of when my oldest son became so rebellious that my husband and I had to ask him to leave our home. As dark as those days were for me, I made a quality decision that my disappointment was not going to hinder my relationship with God. I can't help believing that one of the reasons why the Lord restored my family, was because I had remained faithful to Him the whole time. Now I was facing another challenge. My oldest son and his wife were making plans to move 3,000 miles away. There was no question that I was hurt and disappointed. As I turned to the Lord, praying and lamenting, I heard His voice in my spirit say, "Either I am enough for you, or I'm not." It was a simple statement, but a life-changing one. And I determined that day that I would never let anything or anyone take God's rightful place in my life, or in my heart.
I was raised believing that family was the most important thing. Now I know that as important as family should be to us, our relationship with God should be even more so. I've discovered that when we keep our priorities in the right order in God's sight, everything else just naturally falls into place. When we allow our relationships with family members and friends to get out of order, we begin to set unreasonable expectations for our loved ones, and we become demanding and impossible to get along with. Not only does this tend to destroy the very relationships we seek to preserve and protect, but it sets us up for major disappointments that can lead to depression and despair. Very often, out of our love for God, we set noble goals for ourselves--such as becoming a godly spouse, parent, or child--and then we proceed to lose sight of the very One we set out to please in the first place. We eventually end up trying to please our loved ones, instead of God. We become people-pleasers, instead of God-pleasers. (Galatians 1:10) Jesus said: "Anyone who loves his father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me." (Matthew 10:37 NIV) The Savior is not trying to demean our relationships with our loved ones, as much as He's trying to help us see how much more value we should place on our relationship with God.
David wrote, "I desire no one on earth as much as You!" (Psalm 73:25 TLB) Every child of God should be able to make this declaration with all sincerity. And today I'm here to tell you that if you can't, you are doomed to disappointment.
Prayer: Lord, right now, I surrender every aspect of my life to You, including all of my relationships. I ask that You help me to restructure my priorities, so they will please and glorify You in every way. When I am tempted to become fearful, depressed, or disappointed, remind me that You are "El Shaddai"--"The God of More Than Enough." I praise You that You are more than enough to meet every single need I'll ever have in this life!
- J. M. Farro