“If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple. 27 And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.” NIV Luke 14:26-27
To “bear our cross” as His disciples means to value Christ above all else, even family. Many can find this idea shocking. Let me unpack it.
Christ is not saying that we should not care for our family or our own lives. However, he is saying that we should not put them in the same place as Him. Christ should be first, everything (and everyone) comes second. This may sound cold but it is only through closely following Christ that we can learn to be the people we ought to be. This includes loving rightly.
With the above in mind, if we do not follow Christ and His example first and foremost, everything else suffers, including our love and care for family and self. Matthew 6:33 points to what is also a popular Christian song: “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”
We cannot truly know and act out love without first following His example and the kingdom He represents. This goes for more than simply love. Even the desires of our hearts are met by first seeking after Christ. Through walking this path, we come to know the will of God for us and grow closer to Him and even like Him. As this happens, what we want in life may change as we come more in line with the mind of Christ. In this we truly “bear our cross”, to be more like Him in everything.