I’m Starting to See a Pattern Here

Imagine living with complete freedom, complete fearlessness, complete joy.  With energy, enthusiasm, and clarity. How great would it be to experience that regardless of your health, financial, relational, or vocational circumstances?

I’ve seen a pattern of living that can make that a reality for you.

One example of this is my good friend Greg Murtha.  Greg and I worked together at the Halftime Institute for many years and you’d be hard-pressed to find another guy as funny or as enlightened as Greg.  He’s got a nasty case of cancer and the doctors said he should have been dead 2 years ago, but for some reason God’s not done with him.

Greg called me last spring after having a massive heart attack while in the hospital getting a check-up. (Talk about being in the right place at the right time.)  Three days after the attack, he called me. In a weak and raspy voice, he said, “I don’t have much strength or time to talk, but I just have to tell you:  When you’re staring death in the face, it becomes real clear real fast that the only things that matter in life are Jesus and relationships.  Choose how you spend your time wisely. I gotta go. Talk to you later.”  And he hung up.

 

I saw this same insight play out in my dad’s life last week just 48 hours before he died. He was in in-home hospice surrounded by 12-15 family members laughing, telling stories and crying.  There was a pause in the conversation and my dad started speaking in the strongest voice we had heard in weeks.

He said, and I’m quoting verbatim: “I don’t care how many million dollar homes you have or how much money you make, there is nothing more important than securing your place in the kingdom of heaven and being with family.”

Are you starting to see the pattern in the words of these two wise men? Jesus = Kingdom of Heaven.  Relationships = family (and friends, neighbors and co-workers, etc.)

There is a third place where this pattern is clear. When asked which are the most important commandments, Jesus said “Love God and love others as yourself.” (Mark 12:30-31 paraphrase.)

Jesus = Kingdom of Heaven = God

and

Relationships = Family = Others

I started this blog asking you to imagine living with freedom, fearlessness, joy, energy, enthusiasm, and clarity.  Those that know Greg Murtha and Joe Spadafora would likely use those words to describe them.  Now think about Jesus — doesn’t that sound like Him, too?

I am trusting that loving God and loving others is the prescription that leads to this description.

I don’t want to close this blog with any uncertainty.  Let me wrap up by specifically describing what it looks like to love God. It’s a concept that’s tossed around casually and we don’t stop long enough to discuss what that actually means.

Think of it as a parent: You would know for sure that your kids loved you if they:

  • obeyed you
  • trusted you
  • came to you when they were confused or sad
  • came to you to share good news and celebrate
  • cared for people that meant a lot to you
  • enjoyed hanging out with you
  • and, took action on things that were important to you.

The best way to love God is to follow that pattern. My encouragement is to read the bible and find out what God wants for us, what He wants from us and what he cares about.  Then align your life with those things.  The natural outflow will be a life of loving Him and others.

It’s a sure fire pattern for living with freedom, fearlessness, joy, energy, enthusiasm, and clarity… regardless if your circumstances.

Jeff Spadafora