There are many around us, in fact the world seems to be almost entirely focused on achievement, competition, perfection, and material possessions. There are more ways advertised in all the media we encounter every day to be better, have more, and change who we are to fit society’s norm, than we could ever humanly conquer.
When we are constantly surrounded by influences that tell us not to be satisfied with who we are, it becomes easier to forget that the example of Christ had nothing to do with the worlds view of success and happiness.
The scriptures tell us He was a man without a remarkable appearance and an even less remarkable collection of worldly goods. He was often judged for this. Even then, many people felt that respect was earned by stature and favor within the community. Even among the religious orders of the time there was a certain amount of pride involved in showing off how well you could live your beliefs. All these were in opposition to the life and example of Christ. So is most of what the world would have us believe today.
What were Jesus Christ’s views on the important things in life? Love for God and man, a kind word and a kind act, humility, and peace. These are the things He valued; these are the things He taught His disciples to value. We know this. We study His words and life. We try to become more like Him. But often, our attempts go astray because we are trying to mix what our peers, culture, and society define as happiness and success with the things of God.
The first answer is probably to make sure that we are looking in the right places for the answers we need. Our pursuit needs to focus on the same things that we sought out when we went looking for Christ in the first place. The answers are found in our scriptures, in prayers and the intimate feelings within our hearts. The solutions are in our ability to emulate Him, not a fashion magazine.
The disciple’s job is to begin figuring out what the difference is between God’s voice and the world’s. We all have basic needs (basic needs, not what we’d, like those needs to be) for supporting life, but we often forget that a big part of that life is the spirit that dwells within us. We have a responsibility to nourish and protect our soul as well as our God-given bodies. Are the goals and activities we choose for ourselves honoring and nurturing that part of us? Are we following an example that leads us to greater peace or a greater list of things to do and places to be in order to measure up?
Make sure your assessing this part of yourself along with your “bottom line”. What is the Lord’s standard for His disciples? How does He measure your worth? What things in your life keep you the closest to Him, His peace, and His love and which things do not?
Learn to minimize the distractions and find contentment in the things that really matter for who you are, and who God wants you to be.