I’m a hypothetical kind of girl.
You know, hypothetically I want to exercise.
Hypothetically I want to eat veggies and no sugar.
Hypothetically I want to be an early riser, read my bible before anyone else in the house is awake, and have a hot breakfast on the table (that has fresh flowers artfully displayed on it) upon the waking of hubby and kids.
Do I do any of these amazing things on a regular basis….NO!
By not doing these amazing things am I less of a woman, wife, or mom….NO!
You know the ONE thing I refuse to be a hypothetical girl on though? Jesus. I want to chase Jesus and what He has for me as hard as I can. Are you with me? No, almost Jesus girls here, ok?
If we all say we want to be real and authentic Jesus girls, what does that look like?
Some of us would maybe say it looks like filling our bookcases with lots of books about Jesus. Making the only station on Pandora we listen to a Christian one. Others would say being in church every time the doors are open. Yet others would say it just looks like being a good person. What does Jesus say it looks like?
He says in Mark 8:34 “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross, and follow me.”
Hmmm, no mention of a full bookcase or which Pandora station to listen to. Although it does say turn from your selfish ways. We are all me focused, right? We all are focused on our marriage, our kids, our dreams, our homes, our schedules….should I go on…no, ok, thank you! Now I’m not saying you stop feeding your kids or sacrifice your dream, but I am saying maybe look and see if there is another kid you can feed or another mom you can help encourage in her dream. Jesus asks us to not be so focused on our agenda, in order for us to see His agenda. Yikes, Jesus just got pretty close to my toes there!
When the rich man in Matthew 19 asked what good must I do to have eternal life, Jesus responded by saying to keep the commandments, but went on to say in verse 21, “if you want to be perfect go and sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”
Well, no mention of church attendance here or of being a good person. Just if you want to be perfect then give up what you love the MOST and follow me. What do we love? What do we chase? Some of us chase careers, I did for a long time. At the sacrifice of my family and my relationship with Jesus. Then one day, Jesus, who had blessed me with my dream small business, said if you want more of me lay it down. But Lord I’ve worked so hard, I thought. This was my chance to be my own boss, to no longer have to work in an environment that seemed to create a bad attitude within my heart. I wanted more of Jesus, and what He desired for me to have, that meant sacrificing my desire to His.
Sometimes we can chase an idea. The idea of being a good person, a good “christian” can look like attending bible studies but never really reading God’s word. It can look like getting involved with as many volunteer opportunities as possible. Yet, when we allow the good to become bigger than the relationship, we lose the good of the action. Because it isn’t bad to participate in bible studies or volunteerism but when we use that to replace truly following Jesus we’ve missed the point.
The teacher of religious law asked what the most important commandment was, Jesus replied “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul and all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ The entire law and all the demands of of the prophets are based on these two commandments.”
Jesus here shows us loving the Lord must be the first filter of life. Then love others. The real kicker is he says there in the middle the second is EQUALLY as important. That’s the hard part for me. Because some days (uhhh, most days) it’s really easy to love God, but is so hard to love others. Loving others means putting them ahead of what we want. Loving others means being patient in the endless line of the grocery. It means slipping money into a struggling friend’s car without taking credit. It means putting down our phones so we can really hear our daughters story (maybe for the 10th time just today). Love, not the mushy gushy kind, but real love takes hard work and sacrifice. The closer we remain to Jesus, the easier it is to love others well. Paul says it best in 1st Corinthians 13:1-2 “If I could speak all the languages of earth and of angels, but didn’t love others, I would only be a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. ….if I had such faith that I could move mountains, but didn’t love other, I would be nothing.” Nothing without love.
Well I want to be something, I hope you do too. Although I think it sounds impossible to love as Jesus did. I find it reassuring that the disciples did too. They were astounded in Mark 10:26 when they asked “Then who in the world can be saved?” In verse 27 Jesus responded with the words that can be the balm to our souls, “Humanly speaking, it is impossible. But not with God. Everything is possible with God.” Yep, it’s true we can’t love well, we can only love well by asking each day for the Lord to align our hearts to His. To remove our selfish focus and replace it with His endless love.
So girls, do the impossible this week, love others so well that it could only be the love of God. Look for how God wants you to love better. Maybe it’s huge, like laying aside a dream or maybe it’s small like putting down your phone. Maybe it means doing what He asked of you, even if it means being willing to risk your heart on those who have hurt you or disappointed you in the past. Love those that are really hard to love. Whoever you love well this week, make them say wow, how do they do that, because we want to be known by our love.