Ok, here’s one to store in your head and your heart . . .
We feel good about ourselves when we do the right thing.
It just happens. When we push ourselves to fill out a totally truthful expense report or tax return, it happens. When we volunteer somewhere, giving our time and energy to help a person or a non-profit organization, it happens. When we pause our angry response to being cut off in traffic and gently let the guy in front of us, it happens.
Maybe it’s because we’re the only species with a conscience. When we act selflessly, we’re living out of a higher nature . . . the one built into us. Remember, God created us in His image. When we’re selfish, we’re acting like every other animal, competing and striving for everything.
That’s what I love about following Jesus. He leads me to a higher level of living, a level of love, health, and good works. When it was all about me, I was always tired, always calculating, always trying to protect myself and ‘my image.’ When I grasped that God loves me without me doing a thing, my image didn’t matter as much. I’m free. I’m released. I’m energized to do the right things . . . usually selfless things.
Two mantras are floating around in my head these days. I’ve been asking God to keep them front and center in my relationships and interactions with people. You’ve heard them before, but I’ll repeat them anyway . . .
The most important person in the world is the one who’s in front of me right now.
Doing the right thing involves putting others first. That means ‘parking’ my agenda, my wants, and my needs and engaging with the person who’s in front of me. The divine appointment that’s here and now!
The other mantra asks . . .
What does Love require of me right now?
To do the right thing in the moment, I must pay attention to the person who is in front of me. Paying attention allows God to lead me to action. It might be to simply listen. Or pray. Or something else. Maybe it’s to send them an article, or make a connection, or do any number of things to help them. Whatever Love requires of me, that’s what I want to do. And when I do it, I feel great about myself because I “loved one another,” obeyed the Father, and joined Him in His Kingdom work.
Scripture: Everyone enjoys a fitting reply; it is wonderful to say the right thing at the right time. (Proverbs 15:23)