Where is my spiritual life going at this moment? Am I drifting away from God? Who is God? I have to be honest and ask this question plain blank. How can I develop a deeper relationship with God?
I have been reading the gospel of Matthew more closely, and have realized that Jesus was focusing on being merciful, compassionate, and kind to other, not that I did not know this about Jesus, but it has a more profound and powerful meaning to this mercy and compassion that Jesus taught. I have learned to call it, like Jesus called it, the KINGDOM OF HEAVEN (OR KIGDOM OF GOD).
Jesus mentioned it many times and even used parables to try to explain it further. When I read these teachings now with the new perspective, which is introduced in Matthew chapter 5 , everything else makes more sense. For example, Jesus kept talking about being humble (Mt. 5: 3-5), just (treat everyone the same, Mt. 5: 6), merciful (Mt. 5:7), forgiving (Mt. 5: 8), peaceful (Mt. 5:9), and withstand persecution because of these characteristics (Mt. 5: 10-11), each having its own reward. He stress on honesty and transparency (Mt. 23), and pleasing God without showing off to people (Mt. 6:1-18). He warned us about being hypocrites , worrying about the external appearance and material desires (Mt. 6:25-34), being vindictive, judgmental (Mt. 7:1- 6), and being mean to others who are merciful and practice the Kingdom of Heaven (Mt. 18: 1-9). He uses both kind and harsh words to stress the importance of what I have called the “Characteristics of the Kingdom of Heaven”. I have learned that Jesus wants us to act on earth as God wants us to act, the same way people act in Heaven. God wants us to treat each other the way God wants us to treat each other. I know this might sound “cheesy” and old, but I truly tell you that my perspective on this is more profound and meaningful, more that before. It is hard to express what I am feeling about this, but I am doing my best, I guess the same way that Jesus tried to express the characteristics of the Kingdom of Heaven, which is probably why he used parables, or earthly examples, to explain the spiritual, to explain the behavior and characteristics that God wants us to adopt. But Jesus was clear on how difficult this will be, because it is not a matter of just dropping everything you do and helping others suddenly. This is probably why Jesus stated “Love each other as (the same way) you love yourself”, not “Love each other more than yourself”. He admitted that this transformation from the earthly, selfish way of life to a heavenly, selfless way of life is no easy task, but this sacrifice is smaller that the sacrifice of having to please ourselves and showing off to others (Mt. 11:22-30). This is just an introduction of what I have been learning lately. Thank you.