Your relationship with Jesus should be the defining relationship of your life. By this I do not refer merely to the lip service some offer in worship or the generic use of ‘Christian’ so common in our day. Instead, I mean that our commitment to being right with our Lord defines each and every action we take and every other relationship we have. “If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple” (Luke 14:26). Our relationship with Jesus must receive the top priority–even as we relate with those closest to us upon the earth. While Jesus’ statement here might seem hard indeed at first, the strength of the language, while figurative, is intentional. Our relationship with Jesus should be so strong that every other relationship—no matter how close and how strong—seems like hate by comparison.
Therefore, if you are to be a disciple of Jesus Christ, your relationship with Him must come first before every other relationship you have. Period. No relationship receives exclusion from this statement. No situation carries an exemption from the implications. By this he does not call on us to abandon all other relationships but to reorder them according to the proper priorities, those set by the One who died for us. Unfortunately, we rarely consider how we can let earthly relationships trump Christianity, but we must. My friends, if you love your family so much that you are unwilling to obey your Lord, you do not love Jesus enough to be His disciple (Mk. 16:15-16). If you would rather hold on to family traditions than hold on to your Savior, then you do not love Jesus enough to be His disciple (Mt. 15:8-9). If you love your spouse so much that you are unwilling to respect what Jesus says about marriage, divorce, and remarriage, then you do not love Jesus enough to be His disciple (Mt. 19:6-9). Christianity is not just about loving your Savior; it requires loving Him enough to do all that He says. If you do not love Jesus enough, you cannot be His disciple (Jn. 14:15).
Your relationship with Jesus should then define how you relate to people in every other relationship you have. It should change how you think about your enemies—personal or otherwise—so that you love them and seek their well-being even as they seek the worst for you (Mt. 5:44-45). It should change how you respond to those who have wronged you, making you long to see them right with Jesus and in the family of God with you instead of seeking vengeance or wishing for their harm (Rom. 12:19-21).
Your relationship with Jesus should change how you see outcasts and total strangers, opening your heart to them to get them to open up their hearts to Christ (Lk. 10:29-37). It should change how you see your employer or your employees by seeing your work as an opportunity to live out your relationship with Jesus (Eph. 6:6-9).
Your relationship with your Savior should revolutionize your relationship with your spouse (Mt. 19:4-6). It should deepen your commitment, grow your love, and motivate your every interaction (Eph. 5:22-25). It should change how you interact with your children (Eph. 6:1-4). No longer do you see yourself simply as the proud parent of a beautiful baby or a good student, but in Christ you see yourself as the privileged guardian of a soul, seeking to shape not only a lifetime but an eternity. Your relationship with Jesus provides depth to every relationship you have.