Eric Burtness has a wonderful paragraph in his book Beyond Question, as he reflects on this question that Jesus asked.
… it is clear that Jesus looks for us to not only say he is Lord, but to do what he says. He seeks consistency between our beliefs and our behavior, our convictions and our conduct, our values and our lifestyle. He calls us to live with integrity, a word that comes from the root “to integrate.” Integrity means integrating our beliefs and daily behavior. This isn’t something you just slip into. Living with integrity is a decision. It’s a daily commitment. Saying Jesus is Lord and doing what he says means aligning our convictions with our conduct, what we believe with how we act, every day.*
As we began this series of reflecting on the questions Jesus asked, we talked about them in terms of “transformative” and “life-changing.” This morning I reflected on how we choose to follow Jesus – or not – throughout our week in all our daily activities. How do we live out the ten commandments and their obvious direction, as well as the more subtle meanings as Martin Luther defined them? When we observe a commandment being broken by others do we join in, say nothing, or risk taking a Christian stand? How often do we compromise our Christian integrity?
Or if following ten commandments seems too difficult, what about following the last commandment that Jesus gave us, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another as I have loved you.”
How different would our lives, and the world, be if we could follow only that one commandment?
Thomas Merton wrote an insightful prayer that I use often. From Thoughts in Solitude, a prayer for today:
MY LORD GOD, I have no idea where I am going.
I do not see the road ahead of me.
I cannot know for certain where it will end.
Nor do I really know myself,
and the fact that I think that I am following your will
does not mean that I am actually doing so.
But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you.
And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing.
I hope that I will never do anything apart form that desire.
And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road
though I may know nothing about it.
Therefore will I trust you always
thought I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death.
I will not fear, for you are ever with me.
and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.
May you choose to live each day with integrity. And may God bless and multiply your efforts.