Yeah, I know, that should be a T-shirt or a bumper sticker or something. But it was just a simple sentence that came out of my six year old daughter’s mouth last night after I said good night to her at bedtime. Before I turned off the light she turned on the charm and blurted,“Daddy, I love Jesus more than bacon.” I laughed out loud and said, “I do too. Good night sweetie.”
But what started out as a kids say the darndest things moment of laughter turned into some deeper thoughts this morning. Sure, I love Jesus more than bacon (and I looooove bacon!) but do I love him more than my little daughter, my son, and my wife? Do I love him more than Dare 2 Share, the ministry he has called me to lead? Do I love him more than my aspirations and dreams to reach the world for Christ?
It’s easy to give a knee jerk “YES!” to these soul penetrating questions but, if I’m honest, there are times that I love all of these things more than Jesus. And I am not alone in my struggle. Even the great apostle struggled with this.
Paul wrote in Romans 7:15-25, “I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do-this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it. So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!”
There were times when Paul loved other things more than Jesus and this struggle with sin was the ultimate frustration of his life. It was his internal struggle with sin that frustrated him more than any of his external problems. He hated his propensity toward not loving Jesus more than any conspiracy against him or beating he ever received. Why did he despise this struggle so much? Because it was during the times he gave way to sin that Paul loved other things more than Jesus. It was at these times that he was no longer walking as a disciple of Jesus.
The same is true of you and me.
Jesus himself gave a brutally honest requirement to be his follower in Luke 14:26, “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.” The word for hate here is “miseo” in the Greek. It means to love less by comparison. In other words it means that our love for Jesus should be so grand, so overwhelming and so intense that our love for everything and every one else should look like hate by comparison.
It’s only through the power of the Holy Spirit made available to us through the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ that we can have access to this brand of love. May we learn to depend on the Holy Spirit to give us this love from above for Jesus today and every single day. May we discover what it really means to love him more than family, friends and, yes, even bacon.