My goal had been to write some thoughts here occasionally for me and you to ponder. I see occasional is a poor choice of words – rare might be better. For many this will be the end of the first month of their New Years resolution and like mine they may find that they are not as committed as they had hoped and planned to be.
Our Christian walk often looks like this too. I am not just talking about regular devotions or Bible reading or something like that: I am talking about being and acting as maturing Christians or maybe even remembering and talking to God on a regular basis. Things getting going well and suddenly you’re not sure when the last time you talked to God was. Maybe life has been difficult and you just gave up on spending time with God or even trying to reflect God’s image in the world.
It’s never easy being a Christian. Today there are so many different voices telling you what a “real” Christian looks like and how they act and the type of church they go to and…
Jesus boiled it all down into two easy thoughts to remember: Matthew 22:37-40 ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
If you love someone you spend time with them. You don’t always do the same things every time and sometimes you go along with each other on a busy day. God wants to walk with you throughout your day. Hi God, glad you’re here; Wow that was close; that makes me angry; how can I help; should I help. These are conversations that you can have with God throughout the day. Placing God with you is a way of loving God – I mean you don’t want to go through tough times or celebrations by yourself (most of us like to have someone to share events with) when you can be surrounded by love. That’s a good beginning – that allows our relationship to deepen – we read the Bible with God’s love ringing in our ears and we ask about the tough times and try to understand how God allows them to happen. Sometimes we learn just to accept God knowing that someday we will be in God’s presence and understand fully.
That loving my neighbor though is tough – especially if I have trouble loving myself. There is so much fear out there today and a sense that the world is not safe. Well, mostly it never has been in some place in the world. If God holds my life do I need to fear death? No, not that I want to get to heaven sooner but reflecting Jesus image to the world may mean allowing myself to be in places that aren’t safe in order to help or care for someone else. We are taught to fear not having enough when the waste in the US is greater than what is available in many countries.
What about when our neighbor who disagrees with us. Love on. We don’t have to agree to act lovingly. The Samaritan (sometimes called dogs – a derogatory word) stopped to help a man who in different circumstances might have helped the robbers to be sure the Samaritan was dead (maybe a little dramatic – but I want you to see a huge difference between these two) and thought he was doing a good thing. Love doesn’t ask if you are worthy – it asks – how can I help, how can I care. You may have to place yourself on the opposite side of your feelings someday to live out Jesus command to love our neighbors – I hope your relationship and love of God will give you all the courage you need to be all that you are called to be.
PS. Don’t worry the Holy Spirit will never let you stand alone when you are standing for God.
Blessings in this New Year,