By Toni Smothers
Suppose that one day you could be Jesus. Jesus wakes up in your bed, digs through your stuff to pack your bag of books you’ll need for the day at school. You still have the same problems, your room is still a disaster, your schedule is still hectic and nothing else about your life changes. You dress in your clothes and mumble, "I’m not hungry," to your mom as you leave for school. Or would you stop to appreciate that breakfast and even hug your mom before you go? Jesus’ heart would be yours and he would live your life for one full day. Imagine…
Just for this one day, you live your life with Jesus’ heart instead of your own. His passions would become yours. His love would direct your behavior. What would it be like? Would you look around the school yard just for your friends, dismissing all the regular mob of kids? Or would you find yourself smiling a little like a silly, giddy person, just caught up in the beauty of the day and the wonder of life? Would all the kids seem different? Would each one bring you joy as you casually pass by? How would you perceive the nerdy kids? Do you think you would still make fun of them or be jealous of the popular cover girl club? Any chance you’d feel less stressed, maybe need fewer Tylenol that day? Would you still dread math class? Would you still do what you normally do?
Would you stick to your schedule and still do what you had planned for the day? Take a second to think about a typical day. Would you live it the same way? With Jesus taking over your heart, would anything change?
Guess what? That’s exactly what God’s plan for you is. He wants you to think and act like Christ Jesus. "Your attitude should be the same that Christ Jesus had. Though He was God, he did not demand and cling to his rights as God. He made himself nothing; He took the humble position of a slave and appeared in human form." (Philippians 2:5-7 NLT)
God’s plan for you is nothing short of a new heart. Radical? You bet it is!
So, will your day include compassion towards that fat girl that everyone, including you, usually makes fun of in gym class? Will you be open to learning with an enthusiastic spirit and get all you can from the days work? You see, just because God loves you just the way you are, He won’t ever leave you this way. He wants so much more for you. There isn’t anything you can do to make God love you more or less, but there is so much He can do to help you love yourself and others better. With your heart filled with Jesus you can not act the same way as usual.
Try it out. Get up a little earlier tomorrow. Kneel at your bedside and speak to God. Ask Him to make your heart new. Ask for a heart like Jesus and ask for Him to stay with you all day long. Every time you even think of doing or saying something tacky, a silent tug at your heart will ask you to reevaluate. You don’t have to, of course, because He allows you your free will at all times, but you could choose to listen. You could choose to dump any ugliness for the joy of the Lord.
So what if someone snubs you and acts stupid. Forgive them and keep your joy. If your test score comes back lower than you’d hoped, determine to study more and ask God to help you in that area too. When you get PMS and want to just curl up in a little pity party, think of Christ hanging on the cross. Be nicer to everyone. By comparison, you might find a different perspective on those mood swings. Let every word in the Bible guide you until the words are written in your heart and you know that Jesus lives in you forever.
Christ was scorned by many yet He was ready to forgive everyone before they even asked for His mercy. Can you forgive those who have hurt you and move on? It’s so liberating to begrudge no one and choose love instead. Choose to lay aside what you think you’re entitled to. Rise to a higher standard of living.
Often people excuse selfishness, pride, or evil by claiming their rights. They think, "I can cheat on this test; after all, I deserve to pass this class," or "I can spend all this money on myself – I worked hard for it," or "I can get an abortion, I have a right to control my own body." But as believers, we should have a different attitude, one that enables us to lay aside our rights in order to serve others.
Remember, you can choose your attitude. You can approach life expecting to be served, or you can look for opportunities to serve others, just as Jesus did. Just keep on asking and He’ll help you make the right choices.
Toni Smothers is a child of God, wife, mom, grandmother, writer and lay-speaker. She has had serious exposure to the rougher side of life and from that experience has been left with a heart full of love for others who struggle with learning about our beautiful Savior. Through her writing, Toni delights in helping young people especially, who are seeking to find a true, intimate relationship with their Heavenly Father.