We must never love men above God. We demonstrate our love for God, most often, when we love our family. But we must never put family above God. The Lord said this in the clearest possible terms, not just in Luke 9, but elsewhere as well:
"Don't think I've come to make life cozy. I've come to cut—make a sharp knife-cut between son and father, daughter and mother, bride and mother-in-law—cut through these cozy domestic arrangements and free you for God. Well-meaning family members can be your worst enemies. If you prefer father or mother over me, you don't deserve me. If you prefer son or daughter over me, you don't deserve me.
"If you don't go all the way with me, through thick and thin, you don't deserve me. If your first concern is to look after yourself, you'll never find yourself. But if you forget about yourself and look to me, you'll find both yourself and me.” Matthew 10: 34-39 MSG Bible
Jesus is talking here about the priority of our love and commitment to Him over the love and affection which we have for our family. He is talking about who must come first whenever these two loves (love for God, love for family) become competitive. Our love for God must always have a higher priority than our love for family.
However, do you know what is interesting? What we believe in theory, we often do not practice. Jesus is telling us something absolutely distressing because in our Christian culture we often say repeatedly and emphatically, “You serve Christ by serving your family, by ministering to your family.” I am not challenging this statement altogether. Usually it is true. But the words of Jesus in Luke chapter 9 should caution us that “love for family,” as good as it is, can become an evil if it diminishes our love for God, and our commitment to follow Him.
“You must not make for yourself an idol of any kind, or an image of anything in the heavens or on the earth or in the sea. You must not bow down to them or worship them, for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God who will not tolerate your affection for any other gods. I lay the sins of the parents upon their children; the entire family is affected—even children in the third and fourth generations of those who reject me. But I lavish unfailing love for a thousand generations on those who love me and obey my commands”. Deut. 5:8-10 NLT