Sunday, January 08, 2006

Obedience and Abundance

from The Divine Conspiracy

Wouldn’t you like to be one of those intelligent people who know how to live a rich and unshakable life? One free from loneliness, fear, and anxiety and filled with constant peace and joy?

Would you like to love your neighbors as you do yourself and be free of anger, envy, lust, and covetousness?

Would you like to have no need for others to praise you,
and would you like to not be paralyzed and humiliated by their dislike and condemnation?
Would you like to have the inspiration and strength to lead a constant life of creative goodness?

It sounds pretty good thus far, doesn’t it?

Wouldn’t you also like to have a strength and understanding that enables you genuinely and naturally to bless those who are cursing you—or cheat you, beating you out on the job, spitting on you in a confrontation, laughing at your religion or culture, even killing you?

Or the strength and understanding merely to give further needed assistance to someone who has forced you to drop what you are doing and help out?

To offer the other cheek to someone who has slapped you?

Clearly, our entire inner reality of thought and feeling would have to be transformed to bring us to such a place.

And if you are the usual person reading this list, you are by now beginning to experience some hesitation and some doubt. Yes, a part of this sounds very like abundance of life: a very desirable condition to be in that immediately recommends itself to everyone. But other parts seem like obedience: something that well might spoil our plans or ruin our life....

[O]bedience in the kingdom of Jesus is that it really is abundance. Kingdom obedience is kingdom abundance. They are not two separate things. The inner condition of the soul from which strength and love and peace flow is the very same condition that generously blesses the oppressor and lovingly offers the other cheek.

...[T]his truth about obedience seems a secret very will kept today. And the correlation between faith in Christ and the obedience / abundance of life in Christ has now become, apparently, something of a mystery. Yes, it is a relationship that has functioned well in many periods of Christian history. The cultural and literary record is there for all to see. And there still are those today for whom faith in Christ progressively modulates into both obedience and abundance.

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