It has become increasingly difficult in this day in age to be a Christian. The pursuit of Christ is an uphill battle. Temptation seems to grow in leaps and bounds and everywhere I look I am surrounded by the worlds calling to join in.
There are many challenges I face as Christians in this predominantly secular society. I find that even if I try to do lots, like regularly attend church, pray, and study your bible, it is still a struggle to not live like the world, to not be influenced by it.
How do I choose the spiritual over the worldly with all these obstacles and options in my way?
One very important and distinct way that Christ shows me how to go against the flow of the world is to put away selfishness. It says in Luke the greatest commandment is to love the Lord your God with ALL your heart, soul, and strength and to love my neighbor as yourself.
This verse is a call to my entire being, to give all. Not a partial commitment but all. I tell my son when he practices for soccer “you have a natural ability but natural ability will only get you so far. You have to do ALL the other things that are going to make you an amazing soccer player”. There is much to do to keep my faith growing.
When I put forth effort to love God wholly I find myself thinking less of my own needs and more of my neighbors.
So, what about my neighbor?
I have truly enjoyed this new series I am teaching in Sunday School. It is touching my heart in such a new way. It has begun to bring new life to my walk with Christ.
Have you ever been guilty of letting the world get in the way, not just the world but day-to-day life? It can dull my senses to the spiritual. Even as I serve Christ from year to year my joy or spark can diminish. That’s where my neighbor comes in.
In our week to week Sunday School lesson we are focusing on meeting needs. We have learned that there are needs and opportunities all around us, big or small, to share Christ love with our neighbor.
A shoulder or listening ear. Money to a homeless person. Donating our clothing to those in need. Donating time at a shelter or home. What do other people’s needs look like?
To shift the focus from us to them (neighbor) has been a beautiful opportunity in changing my perspective. Not only has it been helpful to the person whose need I’ve been able to meet but it shifts my eyes from my own needs and allows my heart to be filled with hope and encouragement, that as God has used me to meet another need, He will surely meet my own.
Love = service (or meeting a need)
How can I keep from becoming secularized and going with the flow of the world? By loving the Lord with All my heart, soul, and strength and in loving Him I’m loving my neighbor where their at; where their need is.
Religion that God our father counts as pure and faultless is this, to look after widows and orphans in their distress, and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world. James 1:27
I can tell you from my own experience that I have felt such great joy looking and waiting for opportunities to come my way to meet a need. I have truly been blessed more than those I am helping because when I’m able to meet that need I feel one more step closer to God. It’s one more instance where I said no to the flesh and I grew the spirit in me. It’s one more opportunity to weaken the worlds hold.
Already this past week I’ve seen the kids in my class support and pray for a friend who is having problems at home and donate clothes to a needy family member.
This has lit a fire under me, can you tell?
May kindness, faith, and alms giving exude from each of us everyday!