I am a Christian, a wife, a mother, a sister, a daughter, a friend, a member of my church and of the body of Christ.
Each of these roles comes with specific duties, expectations, responsibilities. Each varying slightly or hugely from the other.
As a wife, I have certain responsibilities: the upkeep of the house; respecting, encouraging and supporting my husband; submitting to his authority; praying faithfully for him. As a mom, I–with my husband–am responsible to teach everything to my children; to use every opportunity to share the Gospel; to let them see who Jesus is through me (yikes!); to encourage and love them as Christ loves me; to pray for them. As a member of the body of Christ, I am to serve obediently and willingly in whatever way God calls me. As a friend, sister and daughter, I am to uplift and encourage them; to be a godly influence; to pray for them. As a Christian, I am to stand apart from the world; to be a light in the darkness; to proclaim the Gospel to the world; to pray for our Nation and its leaders. As an individual: my health, my walk with God, my wants and needs, my talents, my time, my social contacts, my monies, they all must align with the Word of God.
My list is limited, as I did not list everything, and yours may look very different than mine, but you see how overwhelming it can be. We feel so much pressure to not fail in a specific area, or in many.
So what is most important?
As believers, we are thankfully given one commandment above all the rest, and a second like it. Jesus sums it up for us.
A Pharisee asked Jesus: “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” And He said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”
Our focus should be solely on following Christ wholeheartedly. Wholeheartedly. Loving Him with everything we’ve got inside ourselves, with every ounce of effort and intention and purpose. All other laws…all other duties, callings, responsibilities in our life depend on these two commandments. Everything starts with loving God first.
If we get this part right, we get everything else right.
The problem is, we don’t want to love God. We’ll pull out the God-card only when we’re desperate. Only when He needs to work in our favor.
Loving Him requires work on our part; work we’re not willing to do. Time we’re not willing to sacrifice. We may have a desire, but we’d rather silence it. A hope, but we’d rather squelch it. We have a list of excuses a mile long.
Oh, but when it comes to sacrificing sleep to stay up late to watch our favorite show, we’ll hook up a coffee IV and muddle through the next day. We don’t have any problem following a favorite sports team, even driving half a day to watch them play, even if it means skipping church on Sunday. We have no problem buying the smartest technology or eating at our favorite restaurant, but can’t seem to find any money when someone is in need. We read a book cover-to-cover in twenty-four hours because it’s so good, but we can’t open our Bible to read just one verse? We plaster random paintings that have no personal value, feel-good quotes or team memorabilia all over our walls so as to not forget, but disregard what could be written on our walls, and, more importantly, our hearts.
Love is a choice, and it takes work. We’re commanded to first love God and secondly love others. If you feel confused or overwhelmed about your responsibilities or duties–are you doing this right or that?–just purposefully follow hard after Christ. If you follow Him wholeheartedly everything else will fall into place. The most important will take its place at the top of your list.
Disclaimer: This certainly does not mean life will be perfect or easy or without fail, but the rewards will be great. And you will glorify God with your life and experience true peace and joy.