“When we come to Christ, we’re no longer the most important person in the world to us; Christ is. Instead of living only for ourselves, we have a higher goal: to live for Jesus.” – Billy Graham
Do you remember that one time when Jesus said those famous words that have echoed throughout history and inspired countless followers, “Follow Me and life will be grand”? It’s in Matthew or is it in Luke. Actually, it is in neither because Jesus never said it. While we may wish Jesus did express that idea, He didn’t. Not even close. It can be difficult to try to apply all of Christ’s teachings to our lives. So is following Jesus easy or hard? The answer is yes.
Jesus didn’t come to burden us with more rules. There was a time when there was an extensive list of expectations and regulations that each person had to follow to be right with God. But Jesus offered us an alternative to that impossible mandate—one much easier to grasp: “And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.’The second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’No other commandment is greater than these.” (Mark 12:30-31)
We don’t have to perform to a certain standard to earn God’s love. We already have it. We don’t need to make life harder by doing tasks we think will make God love us more. In fact, loving God is simple. It’s not easy, but it’s simple. Loving God and loving people—all people, all the time—is where it gets hard. Because we live in a broken world, with broken people and broken systems and broken things, life is never going to be easy. Jesus promised us that. Life will be so hard, in fact, that we should take it one day at a time. But He also promised us something else, something no one else has ever promised. He told us that He’s never leaving us. “…I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:20)
Love God; love people. But that doesn’t mean we’ll have a trouble-free life. In fact, quite the opposite. Your car will break down at inconvenient times. Your iPhone will get cracked. And despite all your precautions, you may catch COVID-19. The world is full of difficult circumstances and difficult people.
So don’t be confused about life and all of the hard, weighty decisions it brings with it each day. Make it simple. Strip away everything that’s not you loving God and loving His people (that’s everybody). Start with Jesus, and then build up from there. Life won’t ever be easy, but when the burden gets too heavy, you’ll never have to carry it alone.
Jesus didn’t come to confuse us. He came to love us and to show us the way to peace. He’s our ultimate example, and what’s more, He told us that we would do even greater things than He did. So, go do it. Four simple words: Love God, love people. Easy or hard? Yes, it is.
- In your opinion is it hard or easy to follow Jesus?
- What can we do this week to love God and love others a little better?