Friday, January 06, 2012

A Mindful Life

Jesus said: "Be on guard so that your hearts are not weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and the worries of this life, and that day catch you unexpectedly. For it will come upon all who live on the face of the whole earth. Be alert at all times, praying that you may have stand before the Son of Man" (Luke 21:34-36).

Jesus says that we're to live "mindful lives." Grateful for the free gifts of forgiveness and new life that belong to all who turn from sin and give their lives to Him, we're to be mindful of ways in which we can fulfill what Jesus calls the greatest commandment: to love God completely and to love others as we love ourselves (Matthew 22:36-40).

Mindfulness of others--of God and of other people--doesn't come naturally to us. The Bible says that from imperfect parents and imperfect ancestors, we inherit an inborn impulse to think of ourselves first (Psalm 51:5).

But self-absorbed living, Jesus says, is a trap. It prevents us from having the life only the Creator of life can give. And it prevents us from fulfilling the most joyful part of being human, being able to share the life God gives in Christ with others (1 John 1:4).

We spend much of our lives trying to gain, earn, beg, or steal the things we think will give us life. But only Christ can do that (John 14:6; John 6:68).

One step toward a mindful life is to ask that God will free us from the common human addiction to living for ourselves (or for our family, country, or cause) and to replace it with a dependence on Christ alone (Luke 10:41-42). Jesus sets us free to become our true selves, who we were created to be by the master designer, God.

When we're living mindfully, here's some of what happens:
  • We see Christ in those in need and try to serve them as though we were serving Christ Himself (Matthew 25:31-46).
  • We prepare to share the hope we have with others (1 Peter 3:15-16).
  • We resist the temptation to sin, which is really a temptation to dehumanize ourselves or others and dishonor God and ourselves (Matthew 6:13).
  • We get over ourselves and forgive others as God forgives us (Luke 11:4).
Turn to Christ each day and ask Him, "Lord, help me to lead a mindful life. Help me to be alert to the possibilities this day presents for me to live in the freedom from self You want to give to me. Amen."

[This was inspired by yesterday's readings for Read the Bible in a Year here at Saint Matthew Lutheran Church in Logan, Ohio.]

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