I’m not sure why, but we make following Jesus a lot more difficult than it needs to be. I think when we get to Heaven we’re going to see how complicated we made it and how simple it should have been. Like the Pharisees, we have added all sorts of rules, regulations, and obligations onto what Jesus taught. My guess is we do this to avoid doing what He told us to do.
Just as claiming to be a perfectionist is often an excuse for procrastination, I think our busyness in the name of Jesus is an excuse for our lack of selflessness and desire to love others. We try and hide the ugly with something good. But ultimately only God is good, and any attempt to mask Him with anything else will result in something less than He is. It will result in worthless pursuits.
One of our biggest excuses is we don’t know what God’s will is for our lives. I think we need to lay that one to rest once and for all. He has given us Jesus as our example. We don’t need anything or anyone else to inform us of His will for our lives. Live like Jesus. Do the things He did. That is God’s will for your life and for mine. He wants us to look like Jesus. As a bonus, God also has given us His written Word for our instruction. Every page is filled with answers to the question of what God’s will is for your life. Once again, we overcomplicate what is simple and obvious. We want to make it about us and not about Him.
It’s true He has given us a unique combination of gifts, skills, talents, and passions to carry out His work on earth. But at the end of the day, the mission doesn’t change. His will for your life is the same as it is for mine: love Him with all your heart, soul, and mind, and love others just as Jesus loved you (Matthew 22:36-40). That’s it. Simple. Uncomplicated. God-centered and Christ-focused. God’s will has little to do with you and everything to do with Him. Our job is the same as that of all creation: to honor and bring glory to Him. We’ve got to stop overcomplicating what He has made so simple. We’ve got to stop putting artificial stumbling blocks and measurements in the paths of others and ourselves.
When you are wondering what to do next, choose kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23). As Andy Stanley says, “When in doubt, max those out.” When you do the things Christ has instructed you to do, when you live your life as He lived His, you will be living your life according to His will. There’s no magic and no mystery. Let’s stop making this harder than it is. Following Jesus is not easy, but it is simple. Love God. Love others. Put Jesus first and others next. Surrender all your selfish desires in exchange for His perfect and heavenly mission. Then rest in His love and faithfulness. Stop pushing for something more. It really is simple. Love as He first loved you. That is God’s will for your life.