Being serious about the Christian faith means doing two very simple things:

Loving God

Jesus tells us in the gospel of Matthew that the first and greatest commandment is to love God with all our hearts, souls, and minds. The Greek word for "love" is the verb "agapao". To love in that sense means to give ourselves over to our love for God. It means seeking first to find out what God wants our lives to be like and letting go of what we want our lives to be like.

Loving Others

Jesus tells us that the second great commandment is to love others. In Corinthians, we learn what it really means to love others. Whether it's our neighbors, our friends, or our family, we are told to be patient and kind. We are counseled not to get angry easily. We are told not to keep track of the ways in which we think others wrong us; in other words, we forgive. We tell each other the truth, rather than keeping secrets. We hope, we trust, and we persevere in our love for those who matter most to us, as well as for those who matter least.

When we love God and we love others, we are taking our religion seriously

Jesus tells us that on those two commandments "hang all the law and the prophets". Loving God and loving others are the two most important things in the Christian faith. When we truly love God and our neighbors as ourselves, we are taking our religion seriously. It does not mean that we hold our lives as being perfect, or that we judge others who are different from us. If we doing those things, we need to lighten up.

7 ways to be serious about your faith and still lighten up

1. Show, don't tell

Let others see the positive impact your faith has on you and your family by the way you live. That is so much more powerful than earnestly trying to tell others how important your faith is to you. Teach by example.

2. Keep your standards high, but don't judge others

You should never have to give up your standards to please others. On the other hand, you should not judge others who believe differently than you do. Christ teaches us to love, not to judge. Judgment rarely changes anyone's behavior.

3. Don't compare yourself to others

Comparing yourself to others is a loser's game. There will always be those who are both better off and worse off than you are. It's important to note that some people just seem better off because you don't know what goes on behind closed doors. Just be yourself, and don't compare yourself to those around you.

4. Forgive yourself when you're not perfect, because no one is

We have all fallen short and have needed God's love and forgiveness. Jesus tells us to love others as we love ourselves. Don't forget to love yourself as you love others.

5. Live each day in the present

The past is behind us and we can do nothing about it. The future is ahead of us, and we can't control it. What we can do is live our best life today and love it.

6. Focus on the music of the gospel

Hear the music of faith, rather than studying your feet to make sure you've got all the steps of your religion right.

7. Reach out to others with empathy and compassion

Multiple studies have shown that when we spend time and money serving others, it has a positive impact on our own happiness. Live a selfless life by being compassionate to those around you.

Doing these seven things while keeping in mind God's two greatest commandments means you lighten up about life while still being faithful.

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