Galatians 5.14 The entire law is summed up in a single command: ‚ÄúLove your neighbor as yourself.‚Äù¬† (Neutered International Version)
How is this: The big empty void of all of the ways of life you’ve been taught can be completely filled up in one word: LOVE.
I find myself griping about a lot of things, and realizing more and more the most complicated predicaments are healed with love. In Blue Like Jazz, Don Miller asks a guy how he can so thanklessly serve all of these people in a boarding house. The guy is always cleaning up after people, doing the unseen but necessary jobs, and is often just flat out taken advantage of. The guy says “If we get up in the morning and aren’t ready to die to ourselves, then we aren’t followers of Jesus.”
When I used to take martial arts classes (yeah, I know) I practiced and practiced with my Vegan buddy Keith Woods until our knuckles hurt from missed stick hits. We would swing those things so fast for so long there would be sawdust in the air on the quad. It was awesome. But then something started to happen to me. I no longer thought about how to move to block him. I didn’t have to think ‘ok, he swings a #3 at me, so I block with a #9.’ I would just do the #9. Then we began to have conversations while we were swinging our arms and sticks. Conversations about Veganism or British authors (clack clack clack clack) and which of our professors were dating each other (clack clack clack) and we would just jam with our fighting sticks. Defense and attack became a reflex that didn’t require us to think any more.
That’s when I quit.
It scared me to think that if someone came up to me to hurt me that I would-by reflex-break their arm or rip a finger off. (it was a class on weapon/weaponless defense, so it wasn’t about fighting to score points, but completely disabling your assailant as effortlessly as possible)
What if I practiced love and practiced dying to myself and practiced Jesus life through me enough that it was reflex? that by reflex I would not seek to serve the old god I served and instead served the LIVING GOD?
It comes by practice, patience, and a sparring partner to love, doesn’t it? Praise God, I’ve got 4.