When we are told to “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, Love your neighbor as yourself,” we are being told to make God our treasure and then treasure the ways we can serve others.
In our passage for today, Jesus is helping us to remember that the purpose of things like fasting or giving something up for Lent is not to make ourselves look better, but to focus our hearts on minds on Him. So, if you want to fast or give something up for Lent, great, but do it to focus on Jesus.
The very act of going to God in prayer involves our accepting that we need Him and that we can trust Him with our needs. We don’t have to worry about getting the words just right. God knows what we need and He will give it. It may not be exactly what we want, but what we want isn’t always what we need. So, we can go to God in prayer and trust that God’s will is good and He will answer our prayer in His good way.
As a Christian, we are to love all people, seek their well-being, and forgive their wrongs. We are not to harbor hatred or malice in our hearts nor seek revenge. We are called to keep this condition in our hearts as we also live out our other roles, where we are under the authority of the government and are to protect and seek the well-being of our family and neighbors.
Yesterday, our country celebrated Martin Luther King Jr. Day. We live in a country that has a history of racial adversity and continues to have racial struggles, today. Unfortunately, that is the nature of sin. We constantly seek to improve our status or situation, often at the cost of others.
In my last post, I wrote about how, when Jesus was baptized, the Father revealed Jesus’ identity and the Father’s disposition to Him. Jesus is the Father’s only son and the Father is well pleased with Him. In our baptism, much the same thing happens. God tells us our identity and His disposition to us…in Christ.
Amazingly, God has provided ways for all of us to encounter Him. He has given us His Word, in which He reveals Himself, His Spirit who guides and comforts us (among many other things), His sacraments, where we partake of the very body and blood of Christ. We may not physically see God, as John did that day, but it is real and powerful none-the-less.