If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters -- yes, even his own life – he cannot be my disciple (Luke 14:26).
Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me (Mat 10:37-38).
These statements sound harsh but the inevitable result of Christ’s coming is conflict -- between Christ and the antichrist, between light and darkness, between Christ’s children and the children of Satan. Jesus is simply saying that if you want to be His disciple, then He must come first above all other relationships.
Oswald Chambers had some thoughts on this issue:
“If any man comes to me and hates not…he cannot be my disciple” not, he cannot be good and upright, but, he cannot be one over whom Jesus writes the word “Mine.” Any one of the relationships Our Lord mentions may be a competitive relationship. I may prefer to belong to my mother, or to my wife, or to myself; then, says Jesus, you cannot be my disciple. This does not mean I will not be saved, but it does mean that I cannot be “His.”
Our Lord makes a disciple His own possession, He becomes responsible for him. “Ye shall be witnesses unto Me.” The spirit that comes in is not that of doing anything for Jesus, but of being a perfect delight to Him. The secret of the missionary is – I am His, and He is carrying out His enterprises through me." (Chambers, September 4th)