I have asked this question so many times in life. The problem was, I had been following my own heart without including God into my plans, for a long time. As a “good citizen” a “good child” I looked to what the world expected of me in my culture, instead of what God expects of me. So, I graduated, went to University, worked full time jobs to earn my own money and get my own apartment, traveled to explore the world outside of the U.S. and while being a Christian, never got in trouble with the law, paid my taxes, volunteered and donated to the poor.
I thought that I had a pretty good resumé when it came to having points with God and with man. Well, while God wants us to be “good”, He also wants many things for us. Here is my list of things we should be looking at from God’s perspective:
When asked what the greatest commandment was in the law, Jesus answered the rich young ruler, “Jesus replied, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment” Matthew 22:37 & 38. Jesus was saying that our greatest form of obedience, love in return and worship was to adore God with all of our being. Nothing could be first, but Him. Do you consume your mind, heart and soul with loving God that much? This is the start of having an intimate relationship with God. This means completely surrendering your life to Him and knowing what it is that pleases and displeases Him. It means analyzing our hearts, constantly. It means filtering the thoughts that we allow to come into our minds that are not giving Him glory. It is loving God with all of our soul.
Jesus also interjected a second part to that first question and says in Matthew 22:39, “And the second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.” This is saying that we are to treat and love others as we already love ourselves. It certainly does not mean splurging on someone to your financial deficit, but considering doing a kind gesture that you would do for yourself to someone else without cringing or grumbling about it. Doing something out of love and that’s it. Here’s the catcher, not expecting anything in return. Guard your heart because it is easy to get caught up in this (I know I have!). You do something and expect that person will replicate it back one day, then it doesn’t happen and maybe that person shorts you in some way. It is easy to grow bitterness from disappointments. With God, it is free-flowing loving kindness and forgetting about it, moving onto the next way you can bless someone’s life. We get so caught up in re-thinking situations and circumstances over and over in our thoughts. With God, it is doing what’s right, loving and moving on.
3. Does your life reflect God or is it all about you? We can easily become lovers of ourselves because it is in our sinful nature! It feels good to get acknowledged, promoted, get an award, be quoted or gain a news segment. We won’t complain, but can’t help to promote our success, our plaques, our achievements because it makes us feel good and strokes our own ego. In doing this, we push God out of the way and start worshipping ourself!
I recall going to my husband’s co-workers funeral. I left that funeral thinking, “I want a funeral like that because it was the most beautiful funeral I have ever witnessed.” I know that sounds weird, but let me explain. This lovely woman was not honored by her past achievements, but by how she loved others and how she loved God. It was so beautiful, that I was crying and had never even met her before -and yes, she was a Christian. She was honored by how she served God for 25 years of her life and how her kind gestures touched others. Some of the words I kept hearing were love, kindness, devotion and commitment. It was a full house and lovely.
My point is this, how are we going to be remembered by God and others? It’s not about scoring points with people or God, when we face God, He will try our deeds with fire and He will know whether we had honest motives and intentions. In the end, it all comes down to loving God passionately, loving others just the same and making sure that we reflect God in our thought life, our words and our actions. That’s it. No one is perfect and we all have our days of stress and trials, people are watching us in those times too. Just know that if our reverence for God is so deep, we will be so convicted of not showing respect and love to others. Let’s stop getting caught up in what won’t matter when we face God, at the end of our life! Throw away the petty because time is precious, live life to the fullest for God and watch how God will honor you and say, “Well done, good and faithful servant, You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness” Matthew 25:21.