Jesus wasn’t being disrespectful. He was simply showing the difference between His blood family, and His spiritual family. Elsewhere in Luke we can find Him repeating this notion when He says, “Blessed are those who hear the word of God and obey it.” (Luke 11:28) When we become a Christian, we are adopted into and become part of the family of God. And part of being in this family is listening to the word of God and then applying it to our own life…practicing until it becomes a habit.
God’s principles are solely there to instruct us in our actions and conduct. For when we obey them, we are filled with wisdom and understanding…for the Word of the Lord is right and true. (Psalm 33:4) And as we follow His commands, His Word burns brightly, illuminating our path ahead and giving us peace…and as we follow Him, we rejoice, as one rejoices in having great riches. (Psalm 119:14)
Are your prayers more of a formula of repetitious words from memory…often without paying attention to what you’re actually saying? Have they become just a fixed routine of the same prayers repeated over and over again? Congratulations, you have the gift of religious gab! But this isn’t how the Lord wants you to communicate with Him. It isn’t the quantity or intensity of your prayers that He desires. Rather, it’s the heart-felt, getting real before the Lord, quality He wants.
The Greek word here for “hate” doesn’t mean we must despise our family in order to follow Jesus. What it just means is that we love them less than we love God. It’s called being set apart. So to this, we are to separate ourselves “morally” from the world view and others that don’t have a personal relationship with Jesus. In Isaiah 52:11, God tells us to, “Come out from them (the world) and be separate.” To be set apart for Christ means that we have our priorities correct…God is first, our family is second, the world is third. For when you make God the most significant person in you life, you are less likely to allow compromise to creep in. And when God is your everything, you are much better equipped to love those around you more effectively.
This verse is repeated several times in Judges…the Jews had no ruler, instead everyone did what they thought was right, just, and pleasing to them. But we know the definition of “doing as one sees fit” can mean a hundred things to a hundred people. So what we see here was a form of anarchy…a absence of governmental rule and authority in the country. And what we also see was growing confusion and disorder among God’s people.
Our battle isn’t against this carnal world, so our weapon of choice shouldn’t be of this world. No, for spiritual warfare we need a unique and powerful weapon…a weapon straight from the most powerful source – God. Jeremiah 23:29 states, “Is not My Word like fire, declares the Lord, and like a hammer that breaks a rock in pieces?” God’s Word…His truth, is capable of destroying any stronghold that Satan has over a person’s life. So when you don’t know what to pray…pray God’s Word, the Scriptures, into the situation. By declaring His Word…all the power of heaven and earth is brought to bear by His authority.