To Help Save Yourself, Forget Yourself
John ShoreBesides here on Crosswalk, John blogs on JohnShore.com.
- 2012 Jan 21
Insecurities. Fears. Gnawing financial concerns. Upset about the state of the world generally. These are the sorts of things with which a lot of us are struggling during these times, which in so many ways are so strange, and so difficult.
If these days you are sleeping less than you wish you were (or have in bygoine days!) it is worth your while to bear in mind how valuable it can be to simplify. After all, one of the singular blessings of difficult times is the way they make you focus on what's most essential in life. Tough times compell us to tune out the superfluous, the distracting, the wasteful, the merely noisy -- and to instead concentrate upon the essential, the true, the truly enduring.
If life's got you terrified, it's time to get clarified. That's my motto.
And when you've done that -- when everything but the most essential thing in your life has disappeared from your concsiouness -- what is left?
But of course: God is left.
And how do we acheive that level of clarification? How do we actually and finally arrive at God?
But of course: by accessing the Holy Spirit within us.
And what is the Holy Spirit within us?
It is God.
And what is God?
God, as the Bible repeatedly tells us, is love.
We who are Christian understand that the quickest, surest way for us to simplify and clarify our lives is by attentively listening to what God most wants us to do and be. And what, we know, God most wants us to do and be is captured in one four-letter word. And that word is love.
We should love. For us Christians, everything always comes down to the same thing: we were created to love others.
Which means we were created to serve others.
Christ made it as clear as he possibly could: it is all about sacrificing ourselves for the betterment of others. He showed us that the highest, purest way of honoring God is giving everything of ourselves to others: to ceaselessly serve our fellow beings, and to expect in exchange for that loving sacrifice nothing whatsoever.
Nothing, that is, except living in full communion with God.
To get everything, we must give up everything. Those are the divine, wonderful, crazy (read: counter-intuitive) rules of God.
When things get tough for us, we (naturally enough!) tend to believe -- or at least think, and/or act -- as if what's of primary importance is for us to watch out for ourselves. But that's a mistake; that's us talking, not God.
What's really, constantly, and ultimately true is that the tougher things get tough for us, the more we need to heed God's will for us.
And that, every time, means one thing, and one thing only. We must lose ourselves in loving service of others.