When I got my car a few years ago, there was one thing that I insisted on having in it: a GPS navigational system. Now, I know you probably don’t know me other than these weekly articles, but I have zero sense of direction. One of the most fearful and stressful things for me is to have to drive to a new place that I have never been before. I’d always print off the directions and map, but it was hard to drive and read those at the same time. If I got lost, I could never figure out how to get back on track to my destination. And then I had to reverse those directions to get home too. My solution was my car talking to me and telling me not only how to get to the new place, but get home afterwards. This has helped relieve my fear of driving somewhat, but rest assured, I always, always say a long and sincere prayer before I leave home!
One day, I got to thinking about how to be a good Christian and thought to myself, “Wouldn’t it be great if God just gave us the directions in plain and simple terms like my GPS, so we don’t get lost in the world around us?” Well, guess what – he did! The Bible is full of his directions to be happy and successful at this thing we call Christianity. In Romans 12: 9-21, the Apostle Paul wrote in very easy to understand terms what we need to be doing, I think. Forgive me for rewriting Paul’s words, but I came up with five important things we all should be doing every day to please God and show his love to others and ourselves.
1. Don’t just pretend that you love others; really love them. Hate what is wrong and try to make it better. Be good friends to one another and show them respect – just like you would do with your brother or sister.
2. Work hard and don’t be lazy. Do what is right joyfully because that is serving the Lord. Be patient and pray. If your friend needs something, share yours with him or her.
3. If someone is mean to you, don’t be mean back. Instead, you should pray for them and try to get along with everyone. Don’t try to get even with them. In the end, God will take care of it Himself.
4. When your friends are happy, be happy with them. If they are sad, be sympathetic to them. Don’t ever try to act big or like you know it all. Enjoy all people.
5. Don’t let yourself get into evil things – things that you know will get you into trouble. Do good things and let that overcome the bad things. Doing good things is how you stay out of trouble.
Doesn’t that sound like a list of things we can strive to do every day? I think so too! The more we can do these, the happier we will be with ourselves and each other. We will certainly please God, as well.
Let’s say a prayer together. Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for telling us exactly what we need to do to be a good and happy person. It may not always be easy for us, but we would ask You to help us remember when we forget. In Your name we pray, Amen.
Ann Moody is a retired pastor, formerly of the Wilkesville First Presbyterian Church and the Middleport First Presbyterian Church. Viewpoints expressed in the article are the work of the author.