The acronym J.O.Y. was meant to remind us to think of Jesus first, then others, then yourself. I think I got this wrong during these first ten years of my walk in Christianity. I think I skipped the first step, at least, most of it.
What I did was minimize the first step. I accepted that Jesus was real and a real part of my life. I then went to straight to serving others. I think I forgot to spend time building a relationship with Him. I have learned a lot about Him. I can list hundreds of His attributes, but that is not the same as knowing Him. I bought into the idea that serving others was the way to get to know Him. I was becoming more like Him. At least, more like my list of attributes of Him. God has recently been revealing to me, through the teachings of Wayne Jacobsen, that I have missed something very important. I missed developing a relationship with God. I skipped right past it. Loving others and loving myself came easy. Loving God was a weird thought. How can I love my King, my ruler? My picture of God has always been more of the old testament version of God. I have just recently began to see that God is my Father. I’ve heard it all along, but never really understood how important it was to “get” it. Knowing about someone is far different that knowing someone. The Christian walk is supposed to gradually make me more Christ-like. Trying to be like someone and only knowing some of their attributes will produce a distorted picture. When you really know someone, intimately, you have a much better chance of emulating them. I’m starting to see that if I don’t get the God/Jesus/Holy Spirit relationship with me right, I can’t love others well. I need to take a step back and learn to see God’s love for me and learn to love him. If God asks me to love others as a way to teach me His love for me then I will, but to begin with I plan to spend time with Him, asking Him to show me just how much He loves me.