“And when they had performed all things according to the law of the Lord, they returned into Galilee, to their own city Nazareth.” – Luke 2:39
In Luke chapter 2, we see Mary and Joseph going to Jerusalem for a feast per the Jewish custom. After the feast was over, they started home to Nazareth with their relatives. The only problem was that Jesus, who was 12 at the time, was not with them. Mary and Joseph got worried and turned their caravan around to look for Jesus, eventually finding Him in the temple speaking with the teachers and elders.
You may ask how these parents would forget their child, especially the Christ child. The wording the scripture lets you in on a big clue. It’s a problem that many people and especially many different denominations of Christians do commonly. Joseph and Mary focused on the customs and responsibilities of the church rather than keeping an eye on Jesus.
The Bible mentions about “when they had fulfilled the days” they returned home. Those words are small, but important views into the mindset of people who are trying to obey the laws without keeping their thoughts on Jesus Christ. Depending on your particular faction of Christianity, you may have numerous obligations to fulfill. While I’m not downgrading anyone’s religious beliefs or customs, I am saying that it is easy to get swept away by laws and customs and totally miss out on what God really wants you to get. Don’t just look to fulfill your days and obligations, look instead to Jesus and what He’s directing you towards.
Thanks to Moses, there were 613 laws overall, 10 of which being from God’s Ten Commandments. Jesus broke it down to just 2, which sums up all ten of the original commandments.
“Jesus replied: ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” – Matthew 22:37-40
It seems as though many people have gotten back to the addition of many supposed laws that Christ says just aren’t as important as one main law. Love.
Don’t put too much emphasis on how many times per day you pray. Instead, put your heart and soul into each prayer no matter how many times you do it. Also, don’t look forward for specific days to worship, but instead, worship God in all you do every day. Unlike other faiths where they must pray five times daily while kneeling toward the East, we as Christians have access to God our Father anytime and anywhere. The Bible teaches that God is always with us, His children, and hears our prayers. We don’t need to attain a higher level of consciousness or sacrifice enough things to get to Heaven, we only need to strive to love God, because He first loved us.
If we mess up, we are not instantly in fear of damnation and hellfire. God is God and He knows all we do. He knows for a fact that we will mess up. That is exactly why Jesus dies for our sins. In dying, He destroyed our death; in rising, He restored our life. Because of His saving grace, we don’t need to lose our minds fulfilling every single custom just to get a chance to go to Heaven. We simply need to come close to Jesus and enjoy the relationship He wants to have with us.
Christ said to His disciples that unless you become as little children, you will never enter the Kingdom of Heaven. By that He didn’t mean young and ignorant. He meant loving your Father and trusting of what He says. A young child believes his parents without needing proof, they take it all on faith. The child doesn’t need to know how there will be food on the plate or clothes on their back, they simply believe that the parent will supply that need. The child knows that they mess up, but they never question whether or not their parent will still be there the next day because of that mess up. The child always comes running to the parent when the storm comes, they never try to weather it themselves because they know they can’t. They know the storm is bigger than they are and accept that.
Don’t be more focused on your works than you are the finished works of Jesus Christ. You can’t out-give God. You can’t out-work God. You can’t even be on the same level as God, so don’t kill yourself trying. Just be His child. That being said, if you feel like you connect more with God if you fulfill customs and obligations, then good for you and keep trying your best at what you believe is important. Just try not to lose your mind while doing it. Nevertheless, you can lose your mind but please never lose your heart, because Jesus is in there.
Just be His child.
God’s blessings to you.