There is so much to read about “self-help” and finding happiness. We sometimes inundate ourselves with these materials while seeing the Bible as do’s and don’ts that restrict us rather than a guide for finding peace and joy. The Scriptures give us recipes for feasts at the King’s table, while we often choose to eat from dumpsters, making life unnecessarily complicated. I remember learning about JOY in preschool and these truths still ring clear for me today.
Step 1 – Jesus
When asked the greatest commandment Jesus replied “to love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, and soul” (Matthew 22:37). To be like minded and connected intimately with God means to walk in Grace and Love as the example set by our Savior who bore the sins of all. And he did so not to condemn the world, but to save the world (John 3:16-17).
Step 2 – Others
The second commandment is “to love your neighbors as yourself” (Matthew 22:38). The scriptures go further in saying that this isn’t only our friends and family as anyone would do this making us no different than pagans (Matthew 5:43-48). It means everyone, even our enemies. Women often pour all of our energy into family and friends, consequently depleting ourselves, leaving little room Jesus, Others, and You.
Step 3 – You
In walking beside all our neighbors, and in loving our enemies, we should spend time in the spiritual disciplines such as solitude, prayer, study, and meditation in order to walk in the Spirit. Jesus spoke to the multitudes. And he cared for the “least of these”. But he also sought time for rest and to be alone with the Father.
Through the disciplines, I’ve discovered how these steps flow together. As a follower of Christ, I should walk in grace, love and joy towards others and myself—and to love others AS myself. When I am disjointed, embittered, or chaotic, I refocus, regroup, and reconnect with JOY.
Dr. Beth Ackerman is the Associate Dean, School of Education, at Liberty University. Learn more about Liberty University here.
Disclosure of Material Connection: This is a “sponsored post.” The company who sponsored it compensated Women of Faith/The Revolve Tour via a cash payment, gift, or something else of value to write or post it. Regardless, Women of Faith/The Revolve Tour is committed to recommending only those products or services we believe in and feel will have value to our readers. This disclosure is in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR. Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.