Saturday, January 31, 2015

How to inherit eternal life, part 22: Goals, objectives, and actions

"On one occasion, an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. 'Teacher,' he asked, 'what must  I do to inherit eternal life?' 'What is written in the Law?' he replied. 'How do you read it?' He answered, 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind; and love your neighbor as yourself.' 'You have answered correctly,' Jesus replied. 'Do this and you will live.' Luke 10: 25-28 NIV

The leadership courses I have taken in the past stressed the importance of setting goals, defining objectives on the way to our goals, and choosing actions to take in order to accomplish those goals. This passage lends itself to that kind of decision-making, so we are going to look at this as a summary post that pulls it all together.

Inherit eternal life
By relinquishing our entire heart to our Lord, loving Him above all else, we can become a wellspring of God's love, flowing to everyone around us.

(The lawyer was just asking about eternal life, but, since Jesus came to give us abundant life on earth and in heaven, I've tweaked the goal a bit.)

1. Love the Lord our God 
Lord (kyrios) indicates the owner of a thing or person, the one with the authority to make all decisions concerning the one owned. To love the Lord as we ought, we must relinquish our right to choose what we do and how we live our life to Him. He has to be our Lord.

2. Love the Lord our God with all our heart
We must have an undivided heart that loves God above all else, all others, and loves sincerely and without pretense. There's nothing fake about this.

3. Love the Lord our God with all our soul
The soul is the seat of the feelings, desires, and affections. We cannot be ruled by feelings. We must relinquish our desires for the things of this world and choose the things of God instead, allowing God to replace our desires with His.

4. Love the Lord our God with all our strength
Loving God with all our strength means to love Him to the best of our ability. When we've done our best, we done all that was required.

5. Love the Lord our God with all our mind
Loving God with our mind (dianoia) literally means a "thinking through" with the expectation of results. We are to ponder Scripture with the expectation that change will be accomplished and that we are the ones that will be changed. 

6. Love our neighbor as we love ourselves
Jesus was a friend to sinners, and we must be, too. This does not mean viewing others as a ministry opportunity. That may happen along the way, but being a friend to sinners is exactly that. Being a friend.

In Matthew 25:45, Jesus made it clear that, when we refuse to love the unlovely and inconvenient, we have refused to love Him. With that in mind, spend some time today thinking about the kinds of actions you can take to accomplish the above objectives. Keep the goal of becoming a wellspring of God's love at the front of your mind. Loving God and our neighbors with every fiber of our being is not always easy and it is not always comfortable, but it is always worth it. 

I'm eager to hear from you, so write a comment and make a suggestion about actions that will help us accomplish our objectives and, thus, our overriding goal. We can be that wellspring of love that spills over onto all around us, if we will, so let's get started today!