Eugene Peterson writes in the Message translation of the Bible that in so many ways love has been graphitti'd over by a self-absorbed culture. Our modern love stories are more akin to lust stories, and when we look closely at today's idea of love it is really quite anemic and, for this reason, lacks any transformational power. More than "Oh I love potato chips" or "I love ping-pong" it is a deep love - a love that captivates, motivates and enlivens our lives. More than just a warm feeling that is sometimes "here today gone tomorrow", what-have -you-done-for-me-lately, the love I am talking about is that thing that emanates from the very heart of our triune God - I dare say that divine love is the life-blood of God. It is this divine DNA that infuses our lives, gives meaning and purpose and inspires great and small action.
The works that the Father has given me to complete, the very work that I am doing, testify on my behalf that the Father has sent me. - John 5:36
Jesus's words seem to imply that following Him has a "bias for action", that by example Jesus demonstrates that faith is not checking all the right boxes on a True/False test, simply holding to the right beliefs or good intentions, but that following Jesus implies action - that we live what we say we believe; we live like Jesus did. There are many challenges throughout scripture to do the stuff, to love, to serve, to lay down one's life. This action is the fruit of God's action in Christ. Our response to knowing Jesus is to choose to live like Jesus, and our response demonstrates that we really do believe and are indeed followers of Jesus. This frees us from the impotence of easy believe-ism and infuses our lives with purpose and meaning. It is in deliberately choosing love that we are assured not only of eternal life but we discover in profound ways the abundant life scripture describes. This is because in living our faith in real life, with real decisions and actions our faith truly becomes our own. The Philosopher Descartes asserts that "I think therefore I am" but in a seemingly counter-intuitive way we live ourselves into new ways of being, in becoming love.
Please don't confuse this with "works righteousness" or earning God's favor. We are saved by faith in Jesus alone. The action is simply a natural response to what we already have in Jesus!
Rest - let life and your 'doing' flow from your peace with God. The difference is toil - working hard for something you already have in Christ. This means being patient and kind to yourself. Let the action flow from your transforming life - like the apple tree that responds to the sun and is nourished by the soil does so as a part of what it does, the net result, in time, is good fruit.
Spend Time - Spend time with the Father. Enjoy your relationship with God, go for a walk, sing songs to Him in the car, reflect on scripture and ask God to help you enjoy a deeper relationship with Him - It is His good pleasure to do so!
Body - Healthy Christian faith is rooted in your whole being and yes, this means your physical body. Being aware of our faith and our physical body roots us in reality instead of the abstract.
Love - Love others as you have received loved. Forgive as you have been forgiven, treat others as you would like to be treated. Significant love is lived in the small things. St. Therese of Lisieux has a beautiful story of living faith in real life in the midst of significant illness. Though physically incapable of "great deeds" she demonstrated powerful love in seemingly small ways. She wrote in Story of a Soul:
"Love proves itself by deeds, so how am I to show my love? Great deeds are forbidden me. The only way I can prove my love is by scattering flowers and these flowers are every little sacrifice, every glance and word, and the doing of the least actions for love."
Words of life - The power of life and death is in the tongue. Let your words be seasoned with grace and mercy. Speak words of encouragement, mercy and hope not only with other but to yourself! These words of life flow from a heart that is being transformed.