“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 14:26As I consider my life since coming to faith in Christ, I see that as I have grown older, I have gradually, ever so slowly, learned more and more about following Jesus and about being guided by the Holy Spirit. But I also see that as I have aged, I have become more desperate for the materialistic things I have always wanted. For example, a sexy wife, and a high-paying job. While these are merely temptations to indulge in selfishness, still I struggle against growing desperation as I see the years rolling on ever faster.
Jesus says we must hate our respective lives in order to be his disciples. This desperation makes that easier. That is, it seems to. However, I suspect it isn't my life that I'm inclined to hate, but rather my circumstances. But resigning to hating my life because it isn't what I'd like it to be simply feels like giving in to discouragement. This kind of despair is not what Jesus is talking about. It seems instead to be hating the absence of particular idols from my life rather than hating my life.
The goal in having the proper perspective Jesus prescribes is not in being bitter over what my life is like, but rather in having no inordinate love for all the good of which my life consists. I must thank God for all his many blessings, yet never love them. I must keep them distant from my heart because this life, as good as it may be, is never the point.
The enjoyment of God's blessings is a natural consequence of having received them and appropriately results in gratitude and admiration for God. Yet my pleasure in life must never crowd out my love for God. Not in any way. Not in the slightest.
I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. The man who loves his life will lose it, while the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me. ~John 12:24-26