"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).
In this verse, the word hate essentially has to do with a comparison of loves. Simply put, our love for God is to be so great that, in comparison, love for even the dearest of relations should seem as hatred. This is based upon His first and greatest commandment:
"You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind" (Matthew 22:37-38).
In both the good times and the bad, we will continually be confronted with whether we are going to obey Christ and His Word - or buckle under to pressures to compromise our faith and "go with the crowd." Each opportunity to serve God represents this test: Who do we love most? If we do not give Christ the preeminence He deserves, He says that we are not worthy of Him (Colossians 1:18; Matthew 10:37).
Loving God with an unrivaled love means that we will esteem nothing - family, friends, possessions, job, fame, power, pleasures, and especially ourselves - of more worth to us than He is. In so doing, we demonstrate His "worthship" to us by choosing to do things His way, and not our own. This is the essence of true worship. By losing our lives in that manner for Christ's sake, we will find them (Matthew 16:25).
Taken from "Good Heart Accepts the Word" by Discover the Book Ministries (used by permission).