In the story of the rich young ruler (Mark 10:17-22) Jesus tells the young man to go and sell everything, give his money to the poor, and follow Him.
The man left very sad because his riches meant more to him than following Jesus.
Jesus also said that to follow Him we must be willing to hate/give up the most important relationships in our lives (Luke 14:26).
By Jesus’ own clear instructions, we are told we should not allow anything [riches] or anyone [parents, spouse, siblings, etc.] to stand between us and our relationship with Him.
Jesus wants our undivided, uncompromising loyalty and attention.
Does this mean Jesus does not want us to have meaningful relationships or possessions in our lives? The answer is, NO! Rather, Jesus declares that if we make our relationship with Him our priority, we will discover how best to enjoy the good things and the many relationships of this life.
Learn to hold lightly to money and materials things rather than allowing life and resources to be consumed in the pursuit of these. Jesus said that the latter is indicative of how those who do not know Him live their lives (Matt. 6:32). As a follower of Christ, He has promised that for those who seek Him first, He will provide all that they need (Matt. 6:33).
If we are not careful our lives could be caught up in the pursuit of things to the neglect of our relationship with Jesus.
The same is true when it comes to other relationships in life. If all other relationships are not guided by our relationship with Jesus, it’s all too easy to use and abuse other people to meet our own needs in a selfish way, or to be used and abused by others. Unfortunately, relating to others out of selfishness is an all-too-natural result of fallen humanity.
When a relationship with someone or something gets in the way of your relationship with Jesus, you now have a god other than the One who gave His life for you. Your relationship with Jesus should be what sets the boundaries and parameters for all other relationships, not the other way around.
When your relationship with Jesus is your priority, you learn to see the value in all other relationships because you learn that you are loved and valued, and so is everyone else. When it comes to relationships, Jesus’ call is to love your neighbor as yourself. Sometimes it is hard to love neighbors if our relationship with Jesus is not our No.1 priority.
When your relationship to Jesus is your priority, you discover how much you are loved and valued for who you are as a person. That should lead you to see how much others are loved and valued in the same way.
Relationships with others and the pursuit of things are the two things which often define our lives. Jesus’ call for us to make our relationship with Him a priority above these two things (as well as all else) is not so that He could be a kill-joy. Rather, His call for complete allegiance is because He wants us to enjoy both of these as we were originally meant to experience them.
Looking at relationships and the things you value, do any of them take priority over your relationship with Jesus? Here is the test, if you were asked to give up any one of those things or relationships in obedience to Christ, would you?
If you would like help in achieving your goals as a leader or in any area of your life, call us at 208-880-0307 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule a complimentary coaching session. To read Errol’s other posts, visit Christ-Centered Life Coaching.