On Wednesday, I listened to one of my favorite podcasts, The Ray Edwards Show. Ray combines strong faith in Jesus with sound business insights and a great sense of humor, so I get a lot out of his program. In Episode #193, he presented “7 Shocking Productivity Hacks” which, when practiced, give you lots of extra time you didn’t think you could ever have.
The seventh tip came in the form of a question, specifically, a “desert island” question. You and a nine year old child find yourselves marooned on a desert island far from civilization. You know that you will never get off the island; you will die there. However, you also know that the child will get rescued. If you could distill your wisdom and experience into a single sentence, what advice would you give that child before he or she was saved?
This exercise forces you to focus on what’s most important in life. And the implication is to practice what you preach. Live out the advice you bestow.
So what would you say? What would you share with that nine year old who’s hoping to see ten? Because what you tell that child is what you’re telling yourself.
Two notions bounced around in my head; one was about the Lord and the other concerned doing what you really enjoy in life. Since the answer was supposed to be only one sentence long, I came up with, “Trust Jesus and just do what you want to do in life.”
But right after I spoke this under my breath, I realized that I was copying a dictum given centuries ago by the theologian Augustine: “Love God and do as you please.”
Trusting Jesus and loving God are pretty similar, so I’ll treat them as more or less communicating the same thing. And most Christians would agree that our relationship with the Lord should be our priority.
But what about the second part? Do whatever you want?
Augustine didn’t mean that loving Jesus grants you permission to sin up a storm. Rather, loving God affects everything we think, say, and do.
That sounds like good advice, the kind I’d give a young castaway who’s about to be rescued.
How does it work?
Love keeps you balanced. Life has so many voices which tell you what to do. You encounter numerous distractions and temptations; it’s hard to relax, concentrate, and enjoy.
Loving God by following Jesus keeps you from swaying, stumbling, and falling. You’re free to pursue what interests you because you’re not afraid of offending Him. When you know you’re accepted by God, when you realize that you’re approved in Christ, the world, your world, opens up.
God’s love frees you up to be you. Fear no longer controls your heart; you can trust Him with your desires, talents, and hopes.
“Love God and do what you please.” Not bad advice for a nine year old. How about for you?