Just off the top of my head, some of the things Jesus did (as opposed to taught, or things the church tells us we are meant to do) -
Turned over the tables of the moneylenders in the temple (ie took positive action to stand up to corrupt practices)
Changed the water into wine at the wedding at Cana (ie helped out friends and family when there was a practical issue which was causing them problems)
Met with his disciples to share meals, and spent time with the outcasts of his society (ie cared about real people with real ordinary lives)
Nobody is asking us to be perfect, but if we look at the things that Jesus clearly saw as important, and those he argued against (like religious hypocrisy), then I think we can get a feel for the kinds of things He would want us to be focussed on. And I don't think that is really focussed on being 'nice' to people all the time, or on 'doing' religion.
larabanana I think ninnypinny has put it very well.
Really loving Jesus is not about doing things but about being accessible to him and allowing him to be close to you. Remember Mary and Martha, Martha made the dinner but Mary listened to Jesus, that might be sitting and praying or reading the Bible, it might even (I think) be talking to a friend in need and listening to them.
Mary sat at the Lords feet listening to what he said....Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made.
Martha, Martha, the Lord answered, you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are neededor indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.
But because you have asked about practical things can I give you my take on it, please?
Sometimes I think it could be a case of doing the best we can in a situation. That can be easy or it can be really very, very tough to work out.
If you feel hassled and someone needs your help, how can you help them without that being the straw that breaks the camels back of your own life!
For example sometimes people do funny things that are annoying, it's tempting to give them what for and complain etc, but I try and look on the bright side of life, to give praise for things, to compliment and not criticise. (NOTE I try, not I succeed!).
Sometimes it is just a case of pausing.... you see something you don't like the way someone has done a job for you, a favour, or perhaps DH has done the dishes and not put stuff away etc. I really want to complain but once in a while I just do clean the table or whatever and try and be that helping hand for whomever. Another time someone is telling you that really boring story and you want to yawn and walk away but then you tune in and hear they are upset or worried. I might give them a hug (if appropriate) or offer to pray for them, or with them, if appropriate or I might say can I help. These are all every day things.
The bigger picture is that I pray for the world and for the injustice I see in the world. I write letters to my local MP or Euro MP about issues to do with justice in this country or overseas. I sometimes give money to causes I think are doing good. We don't have a lot of spare cash so I sometimes fundraise or do things like have a jumble sale with my friends or a sponsored event to raise money to help others.
Please note this is how I work out my faith, it is not a blueprint for what other people might do. In no place in the Bible does it say hold a jumble sale or write a protest letter! And lots and lots of good people of other faiths and of no faith may also be raising money for charity and writing protest letters, so it is not specifically Christian! But the Bible does talk a lot about justice and injustice. I think that goes all the way from world leaders treating poorer people with contempt to passing on or not passing on gossip about someone or passing judgement on another person etc.
The bigger picture for me is that as well as supporting mission world wide and caring about issues in the world, I do feel I should care about things locally and get involved where I can. I volunteer and practise hospitality, inviting people for meals and coffee etc and trying to extend friendship where I can. E.G trying to include lonelier local people, mums who I might not have so much in common with but who I think could use a friend. It is not that I am better than them but they may be shy so I need to take the initiative. It is easy to be friends with the people who are just like us but harder to make new friends with people who might be shy. I used to be shy so know what it feels like to be left out!
None of these things make me a good Christian, they don't even make me a Christian of course! But they are how I work out my faith.
Some people's faith will make them do amazing things and make huge sacrifices, and if that is you then that is amazing. But I think faith begins with small things, it is talked of as being like a mustard seed.
Sometimes we have to say no to people, we can't do everything and we can't be expected to do everything. I think if we begin like Mary with listening to Jesus then we can start on a good footing.
I also like what it says in Matthew 7:12 The Message (MSG) version...
Here is a simple, rule-of-thumb guide for behavior: Ask yourself what you want people to do for you, then grab the initiative and do it for them. Add up Gods Law and Prophets and this is what you get."
God bless, even the fact you are asking the questions shows you want to serve the Lord and live like Jesus. May you be blessed.
All of us who are trying to live like Jesus fall short -- we all don't do the things we know we should, or do things we know we shouldn't. We're all in the same boat!
But you know that he loves you in all your imperfections, and that no matter how much any of us mess up, he is there to help us turn around and try to do the right thing the next time -- and he is there to mend our mess, and mend us.
Following Jesus is about being willing to be changed, bit by bit, as we try to live his way. And some of the things we can do feel as if they are really tiny -- making someone a cup of tea, listening when you don't feel like it, making amends and saying sorry to others.
Brother Lawrence was a monk who was given the work of peeling potatoes in the kitchen of his monastery. As first he felt that this wasn't holy work, and that the other monks were much better than him, and doing much more important than him. But he realised that whatever we do can be a way to follow Jesus, and wrote a book called 'The Practice of the Presence of God' about what he learned. Here's a quote from it that you might find helpful:
He does not ask much of us, merely a thought of Him from time to time, a little act of adoration, sometimes to ask for His grace, sometimes to offer Him your sufferings, at other times to thank Him for the graces, past and present, He has bestowed on you, in the midst of your troubles to take solace in Him as often as you can. Lift up your heart to Him during your meals and in company; the least little remembrance will always be the most pleasing to Him. One need not cry out very loudly; He is nearer to us than we think.
He's always near, and he's always listening, and he always loves us, and he's always helping us to become more like him.
I know that we are to love each other as Jesus loves us but I don't really understand that in practice. I do try to do the right things but I still snap at people and get caught up in worldly things and miss reading my Bible.
Just that Jesus was perfect and seems too far above my human level to follow.