Responsibility and Influence IV

See the last few posts for the thread of these comments. Last post I commented on the 'greatest commandment' as being our greatest responsibility and joy.

Do you remember the second greatest commandment? Again, I think it could be put as ‘the second greatest privilege’ – to love others as you love yourself.

In some ways, Jesus didn’t really need to spell this second commandment or privilege out. Because if we love God as God – and we honour God as the creator of everything, we will necessarily honour both ourselves and other people as God’s creations.

Now this is a different way of thinking about ourselves from the usual way people think about themselves and each other.

Most people, even if we don’t admit it, topple God out of the top spot, and put themselves as number one. Which means we effectively think of ourselves as God.

Why is it joyful to see ourselves as created, as humans with limitations?

Because most of our frustrations come from trying to control things that we have no business controlling. Other frustrations come from either trying and failing to be good enough, or justifying our own pathetic actions. Even more frustrations come from the fact that we have physical limitations, and we simply can’t do all we would hope or dream.

It is joyful to honour God as God, and see ourselves as God’s creations, because we know the God, who created us, and we know that he is in charge.

It’s a recipe to relax and give away that control and frustration! It means a whole new way of thinking about living.

We Christians have the joy of:

  • Relying on God for strength, resources, everything needed to live, physically and spiritually
  • Loving God because he is God (not for what he can ‘do’ for us)!
  • Not seeing ourselves as God and getting frustrated because we are not in control.
  • Accepting our limitations (physical, spiritual, emotional) and not overworking in defiance of those. In otherwords, looking after ourselves.
  • Not trying to ‘save’ others, even in the name of ‘love’ because that is not true love. Seeing that others are the same as us is the basis of true human love. We are all God’s creations. No one is better than any other. No one is more worthy than any other. God created us all and loves us all. Love, kindness and compassion flows out of that knowledge naturally if we have a right knowledge of our status before God.
  • Fulfilling God’s mandate to us: subdue and fill the earth. Our jobs are work and relationships. Ever noticed that most of the time, we try to control things that are not ours to control, and try to skip out of work and relationships? It’s another symptom of trying to be God. If we see God as God, we’ll let him control those things and instead concentrate on doing our work and relationships with joy.
I haven’t even mentioned the joy that comes from the fact that God, as God, has saved us – little created beings, through Jesus. It is an amazing source of joy to know that I will never be good enough for God. I can try and try to climb my little ladder to get closer to him and be a better Christian, but my ladder just isn’t high enough.

The joy of knowing that God reached down to me, through Jesus’ death on the cross, to make me good enough, and to forgive me completely – that’s real joy.