By Dr. Russ
Throughout his ministry, Jesus, proclaimed over and over that new life was possible here on earth if we let go of our worldly, ego concerns, and follow Him. What does it mean to follow Him?
- Think of yourself as a servant to others;
- Put the needs of others above your own;
- Find your personal cross to bear in service of making the lives of other’s better.
Please bear with me as I wax a little “utopian.”
- Imagine a world in which everyone was trying to put the other and not themselves first. We would all then be first because as we hold everyone else up, we are mutually supported as well. We no longer have to worry about, “what will happen to me,” because everyone has “our back” just as we have theirs.
Such a world may seem impossible, but in my opinion, such a vision is what Jesus meant when He said we could have the “Kingdom of Heaven” here on earth.
As we celebrate Holy Week, I offer these ten tips to move your life in the direction that vision of the “Kingdom” here on earth.
- Take time away from others for meditation and self-reflection about how ego concerns are playing out in your life.
- Ask yourself, “What is important about these concerns?” You will often find some specific or general sense of low esteem driving the concern. The ego is feeling low and weak and looks for an artificial way to build itself up with worldly concerns.
- The hardest place to let go of ego concerns is within a relationship when we spend more time worrying about whether the other is or is not meeting our needs as opposed to what we are doing to meet theirs.
- Make a list of 3-5 actions you can take to please another today.
- No matter how simple or mundane you think your job is, think about you can redefine it as contributing to a higher cause, outside yourself.
- Turn your ego concerns over to God. Put your trust in Him and He will keep the ego protected.
- Once you turn your ego over to God, you are free to think creatively and without inhibition of fear of risk taking.
- Everyone was expecting the Messiah to come with a conquering sword, someone who would save and protect them. God sent Jesus with only one sword, eternal love. God and Jesus were telling us that we didn’t need a sword dripping in blood to protect our ego. They told as that we didn’t need that kind of protection because if we had faith in Jesus and followed in His loving footsteps, ego concerns simply drift away like a thick fog that burns off by noon under the brightness of the Son.
- As you give a daily prayer of thanks to God for His love and forgiveness, note how your ego protective concerns just fade into the background.
- If you find yourself intolerant and unaccepting of another or others, in any given moment, time to step back and ask, “What about this person, who is different from me, is threatening my ego?” Acceptance and tolerance can only come from an ego that is rich in the spirit of concern for the welfare of others above oneself.