Life is difficult. We can accept that or get aggravated, but we cannot change it. The mistake we make is to believe that life should be easy. The problem isn’t that life is difficult. It is supposed to be difficult. The problem is when we expect life to be easy or go in search of an easy life.
The quest for an easy life seeks to avoid all difficulty and friction. This is impossible, so we become agitated and angry. All our efforts to avoid the difficulties of life lead us away from everything that is deeply satisfying.
The obstacle we face as individuals (and as a culture) is that it is impossible to embrace the difficult teachings of Jesus while we are so committed to our quest for the easy life. And so, we are confronted by a question: Are we willing to give up our love of comfort and our quest for the easy life?
We are going to explore the 40 most challenging teachings of Jesus. Along with each of these teachings we will explore the practical fruits and blessings that come from embracing that teaching. It is my hope that with each passing day you will be more convinced than ever that today’s culture is bankrupt and that the ancient path of Jesus is worth exploring more deeply than ever before.
You may agree or disagree with the forty I have selected. That’s okay. I hope you will comment below and together we can have a vibrant discussion. I would like to make clear that I have made no attempt to try to rank them in order. I believe that would be impossible.
Now let’s take a look at the first of Jesus’ difficult teachings.
“Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.” It is from Matthew’s Gospel, chapter 22, verse 37.
This is the Shema Prayer. It is the most repeated prayer in the Jewish tradition, because they believe if you spent your entire lifetime trying to live this one prayer, you would live a deep meaningful life that was exceedingly pleasing to God.
Let me ask you: Have you ever done anything wholeheartedly? Have you ever made a wholehearted attempt to live the teachings of Jesus? What do you have to lose? What’s the worst that could happen? How long will we hold onto the bankrupt ideas and philosophies of our age? Are you ready for a new beginning? A fresh start?
This difficult teaching is about commitment. Do you struggle with commitment? Do you like to keep your options open? Have you been taught to prioritize options over commitment?
The more options and opportunities you have the harder it is to commit, and we live in a world of almost limitless options and opportunities. I get that. But leaping from one distraction to the next will never fulfil us.
The best things in life require commitment. Deep relationships, personal development, mastering a craft or career, and spiritual growth all require commitment. Commitment costs in the short term, but in the long term it bears amazing fruit.
Why are we so allergic to commitment? Because it turns our lives upside down. Commitment rearranges your priorities and turns your life upside down, so who and what you commit to really matters.
Make no mistake, if you fully embraced even one of these teachings we are exploring together, that one teaching would turn your life upside down, but in the most wonderful ways.
Here’s the thing. The easier we try to make life, the harder it becomes. Great joy is often the result of great effort. Throw yourself into this wholeheartedly and miracles will happen. Somewhere deep inside, we are all yearning to throw ourselves into something wholeheartedly. This is the right thing. A difficult thing, but the right thing.
“Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.”
Watch the video!