Regular readers of this blog know we talk a lot about love. We talk a lot about following Christ. It’s easy to say we love people, and perhaps easy even to think we are following Christ, but what does this really mean? What does following Christ look like in the daily grind of our lives?
If we would truly follow Christ, one of the biggest shifts we need to experience is the way we see events unfolding around us. Instead of blaring our horn and cursing the driver who just cut us off, we need our first instinct to be to pray for that driver. Pray for their protection and others as they drive erratically. Pray for the person themselves… perhaps they have had a horrible day and that’s why they are behaving as they are. Perhaps they need someone to love them; pray God would send someone into their life to show them love. Instead of driving by someone who has car trouble, we need to instead see what we can do to help. Watch for people in the grocery store for whom you might be able to buy some groceries. Take a walk around your neighborhood. Are there lawns that need mowing, any obvious outside repairs you could assist with? All of these random acts of love come at a cost; some may cost us financially, but all will cost us our time. All will require sacrifice and unselfishness. To put it another way, all these acts will require love.
Therein lies the rub. Most of us would agree that we want to be the people who do the acts described above. But how many of us take the time to be that person? How many of us discipline ourselves to think before we act or before we speak? How many of us are willing to put our own agendas aside to truly be the hands and feet of Jesus? When it comes down to it we still struggle with our own self importance and selfishness. We would rather love ourselves, so to speak, rather than give that love to others. Jesus showed the perfect example of a selfless life. Look at how often He interrupted His day to take the time to touch someone in need. This never disturbed His agenda, because His agenda was love. Until our agenda becomes one of showing love to others, of serving others in ways big and small, we will continue to see people as an interruption. People were not an interruption to Jesus, they were His mission. If we are to follow the way of Jesus, they will be our mission as well.
Are we willing to give up our plans and dreams to follow Christ? We cannot claim to be a follower of Christ and have a mission that is different from His. Our own dreams must be able to exist in parallel with loving and serving others or those dreams must be put aside. If the heart and purpose of our dreams is not loving and serving others, then we are not followers of Christ. We will be like those mentioned in Matthew, where we say “Lord, did we not prophesy and cast out demons in Your name?”, and He will say those crushing words: “Depart from Me, because I don’t know you.” (Matthew 7:13-23) Knowing who Christ is is not enough. Believing in Christ is not enough; even demons believe in Jesus and know who He is (James 2:19). We must follow Him with all that we are, and that means taking every opportunity to love and serve others. Check your mission today. Is it in line with the way of Christ? If not, begin correcting your course immediately. Realign your life and schedule to be in sync with God’s mission. Seize every opportunity to love and serve those around you; make that your agenda in life. Do this and you will truly be a follower of Christ.