Sometimes in the struggles of life, we can see only what is immediate with all the issues swirling around a matter. But we need to learn to think and see in terms of the long haul, with the end goal in mind. Instead of getting enmeshed in what is happening before us to the point where we can’t make decisions except in terms of making things better now as in putting out little fires around us so to speak. We do well to act, or not act with the view of God being glorified in Jesus through it all in terms of the Jesus Creed of loving God with all our being and doing, and loving our neighbor as ourselves.
When we get caught up in the immediate, too easily secondary concerns become primary. Means can become ends. Or not so good, our own agendas can trump God’s agenda as we try to fix the problem. We may want to make things run smooth, may think we have the better answer, but that may be counterproductive to the long term goal of God’s work through Jesus in the situation and concerning the people involved, including ourselves. It may end up being as bad as us simply getting our way. Instead of living in the Jesus way of loving those who may be hard to like at times. In terms of the Jesus Creed.
Jesus certainly lived this way in relation to his disciples and in relation to Israel and the people he ministered to. He kept his eyes on the goal all the way to the cross. We are called to that same kind of walk, taking up our own cross and following him in this life by the Spirit. Paul wrote of keeping his eyes on the goal, pressing on to the mark of God’s high calling in Jesus. And the writer to the Hebrews spoke of running the marathon race while fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. Then saying of Jesus: “who, because of the joy set before him, endured the cross, scorning its shame.” This season of Lent lends itself to some prolonged meditation on this, and what it means for our lives.
Much of our trouble comes from getting caught up in the immediate, which all too often ends up being what Colossians calls the earthly which means the old world which is destined to perish. Instead we need to learn to more and more think and live in terms of the new world that has come in God’s kingdom present in Jesus.
But again at the heart of this is simply love: love for God and for our neighbor. Our enemies not being excluded. Only then do we walk in the way of Jesus, a walk we are to do together as a witness of God’s love in Jesus to and for the world.