It's easy to get side-tracked, come off the rails and crash.
It's hard to stay focused on the main things and keep going when the world is constantly trying to detour you.
For me the tracks that keep me from crashing are two- love God and love people. It seems these were important to Jesus too. When asked what was most important these were the only two things on his list so I think I'm safe if these are my #1 and #2.
The easiest way for me to stay focused is to simply follow Jesus around. To do this I'm daily walking with him through the gospels...walking with him and the disciples, listening to his words, watching his interactions and learning from his relationships with both the Father and those around him.
One passage I go to often is from a sermon he gave in Luke 6. These are profound words and force me to deal with life and people in a different way than what I see happening around me.
Read these words from Jesus and then give me a moment to close with just one thought,
“To you who are ready for the truth, I say this: Love your enemies. Let them bring out the best in you, not the worst. When someone gives you a hard time, respond with the energies of prayer for that person. If someone slaps you in the face, stand there and take it. If someone grabs your shirt, giftwrap your best coat and make a present of it. If someone takes unfair advantage of you, use the occasion to practice the servant life. No more tit-for-tat stuff. Live generously.
“Here is a simple rule of thumb for behavior: Ask yourself what you want people to do for you; then grab the initiative and do it for them! If you only love the lovable, do you expect a pat on the back? Run-of-the-mill sinners do that. If you only help those who help you, do you expect a medal? Garden-variety sinners do that. If you only give for what you hope to get out of it, do you think that’s charity? The stingiest of pawnbrokers does that.
“I tell you, love your enemies. Help and give without expecting a return. You’ll never—I promise—regret it. Live out this God-created identity the way our Father lives toward us, generously and graciously, even when we’re at our worst. Our Father is kind; you be kind.
“Don’t pick on people, jump on their failures, criticize their faults—unless, of course, you want the same treatment. Don’t condemn those who are down; that hardness can boomerang. Be easy on people; you’ll find life a lot easier. Give away your life; you’ll find life given back, but not merely given back—given back with bonus and blessing. Giving, not getting, is the way. Generosity begets generosity.”
What if this is how we chose to deal with everyone? What would happen? What would change in our lives? How would they change?
What if we really believed these words and lived them out?