“Cherish every moment,” I was told as a young parent. “Kids grow up so fast.” Yet whenever I try to “seize the moment”, I feel like a child reaching for a handful of light beaming through a window. Already, this light has begun to wane—those chubby cheeks have thinned; that adorable rhotacism has disappeared. How quickly the night approaches! I ask myself, “Should I have another child?,” but then I remember Christ’s hyperbolic words in Luke 14:26 (“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.”), and I realize that this would simply delay the inevitable. Before the sun sets, we all must come to terms with a truth that parenthood has taught me in such a poignant way. Yes, love your children unconditionally, cherish them; be willing to die for them. But never forget that everything earthly will fade; always remember that, “he who loves his life will lose it” (John 12:25). So, attach yourself to nothing, not even to something as sacred as your own flesh and blood.
I know, therefore, what the answer to the question “Daddy, do you love me more than God?”—a question with which many Christian parents are likely familiar—ought to be; though whether I, in my weakness, live accordingly is an entirely separate matter. As for the delicate task of delivering this answer in an honest, yet sensitive way, I offer the following approach, for what it is worth.
I explain to my children that God is not merely a good or loving God. He is goodness itself; He is love itself (1 John 4:8); He is “isness” itself (Exodus 3:14). That which makes someone loveable, that which brings him into and sustains his very existence, is God. To love anything more than Love itself—to choose any extant creature over Existence itself—is as absurd as choosing the mirror image over the actual, reflected object to which it owes its existence. For if you had and exercised the power to make this choice, the lover, the beloved, and Love itself would vanish.
In short, my approach involves focusing more on the absurdity of the question than on the duty to love God above all else. To answer, however correctly, with a simple “no” does not seem consistent with the call to speak “the truth in love” (Eph 4:15).