"And behold, the lawyer stood up to put him to the test saying, 'Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?' He said to him, 'What is written in the law? What do you read there?' And he answered, 'You shall 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 your neighbor as yourself.' And he said to him, 'You have answered right. Do this, and you will live.'“
This is such a beautiful, brief but powerful moment, because I think we build up this image of God where he wants us to earn eternity, earn heaven, and I think that really more, if our hearts become like Christ's, we are beginning to live heaven already here on earth. Obviously that pours into eternity when we die.
I was recently giving a talk to a bunch of high schoolers, and I said, "If Jesus walked into the room right now, do you think that he would pull out his rule book and start yelling at you for the things you did wrong, or would he walk up to you and give you a huge hug?" Obviously, everyone agreed, "Yeah, he would walk up and give us a huge hug immediately." That would be his first move, right?
The practical take away today is to look for every opportunity to change our initial instinct, to catch ourselves when we're beginning to judge someone, we're beginning to get angry with someone, we're beginning to think poorly about someone, and to instead embrace them with love, either literally with an embrace, or just with our words, or even with the way that we look at them. In that way to take little steps closer and closer to becoming like Christ, and to live heaven on earth here.
I love how Jesus ends this where he says, "Do this and you will live." I don't think he just means in heaven, I think he means in general that we will live better lives. We will live happier lives here on earth. We will truly live if we are living from a place of love for others and for God.
Thank you, Lord, so much for this passage today. Thank you for the opportunity to become more like you, to embrace more fully the love that you have for us, and the love that we can return to you and to turn over to others as well. Help us to do that. Anoint us with your Holy Spirit today, Lord. We pray all of this in the name of the Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen. Now, get out there and make it the best day ever.
Nick De La Torre