The Latin American Jesuit theologian Jon Sobrino described spirituality as a profound motivation; he said that it’s about instincts, intuitions, longings and desires—both within nature and in our culture—that move us, inspire us and shape us, inform and fill our decisions and actions. That definition of spirituality—“profound motivation”—connects with Jesus’ words to us to seek the kingdom of God first, and everything else will be added (see Matthew 6:33).
Our spirituality is whatever we desire most. Whatever we strive for, whatever motivates us, drives us, moves us to select one thing over another; whatever primary shaping forces are in our life, that’s our spirituality.
Following in the Jesus way is about recognizing that Jesus calls us to a particular type of spirituality, a way of life that’s shaped by seeking and finding God’s presence in our life, doing whatever is necessary to put God at the very center of our lives, to put ourselves at the very center of God’s will. When we do that, we experience deep, abiding, life-changing, life-marking joy—not because we’ve earned it or achieved it, not because of chance or circumstance, but because it already exists. God’s blessedness is already there, and we experience it when we seek God’s kingdom. Jesus promised that when we seek the kingdom of God and God’s righteousness first, everything else will be added. That adds up to a type of happiness the world can’t give or take away.
The biggest challenge for Christ followers who seek to follow Jesus side by side rather than at a distance is the implicit question of the Beatitudes: Will we yield ourselves totally to Jesus?
Will we allow him to shape our lives and give us happiness, joy, and blessedness, or will we continue to seek happiness by following the direction of the world?
When we yield ourselves to Jesus, following in the Jesus way—up close, in the thick of things, not at a distance and in the shadows—we experience the deep joy, fulfillment, and satisfaction. We become Kingdom people.