The Greatest Challenge in Our Lives as We Follow Jesus
The greatest change in our lives as we follow Jesus is in developing true humility. As we give up the issues that consume us, the values the world insists that we live by, as we live into the healing that God offers us for all our pain and suffering, we find that the focus of our lives goes from total self-absorption to being God-oriented and other-oriented. Our story is no longer about what we need or want, but what the people around us need and desire for their lives. And the way that we do that is through our focus on loving God with all of ourselves and seeing the people we meet as equal to us and deserving of our help. So, we get to know them, what their lives have been about, the good and bad choices they have made [like everyone else], and we affirm their value in this life.
As we follow what God is suggesting to us, we go from
- Being self-centered to God-and-other-centered.
- Assuming that education and the work we do is of supreme importance in this material world to letting God define the purpose of our lives.
- Being angry, fearful, prejudiced and judging of others to loving everyone.
- Unaware of our deeper, truer selves to living in our depths, expressing the truth about ourselves.
- Believing in Jesus Christ to following Jesus, through the guidance of the Indwellng Holy Spirit, in everything that we do.
This is the path of the follower of Jesus: to give up our worldly ways and take on the spreading of love and forgiveness in the world through everything we do. Often, we find, that our purpose comes to us through the resolution and healing of challenges from early in our lives. For me, it was getting over the teachings of the hell-fire-and-damnation church of my childhood. For others, it might be helping others with the same addictions or challenges in our lives, like an AA member sponsoring others in AA to disengage from the hold that alcohol has on them or a parent of a disabled child, now an adult, who helps other parents of disabled children by sharing what he or she has learned from the experience. Once we have acknowledged the lessons learned from our difficulties, they are often what we are called to give to others in similar circumstances. And what a blessing that is to the giver and the receiver!
There is joy in the giving/sharing. There is peace in the resolution of the challenges. There is love galore in accepting the lessons we are to learn in following Jesus. And we have so much more patience in us when we deal with others in the situations that were once tough for us. The fruit of the Spirit begin to grow in us as we embrace life’s lessons for us. And, oh! how much we can relax as we give up these burdens! We are “Free at last, Free at Last, Thank God almighty we are free at last.” as the Rev. Martin Luther King revealed.