From Bradley, a slave of the Unconditional and of the Lord Jesus Christ
(This is a quick interpretation of James 1.)
My friends, think of the various tests you encounter as reminders to celebrate. After all, you know that when your resolution to keep pushing forward, come what may, is tested, it will develop in you the ability to push through even more. Allow this stubbornness to fully develop. Then you may, you just might mature and overcome the need to always have more and more.
If you’re in need of wisdom, don’t run around thrashing and screaming! Stop. Breath. Pray. You’ll be surprised at how much becomes clear when you slow down. This is a gift. Of course, you can’t expect to begin to see things clearly if you constantly flip back and forth between freaking out and slowing down. Taking that extra breath is not an instantaneous fix. It takes time to grow it into a habit. You’ll have to put in some effort.
Friends, if you find yourself in a place where you realize that you don’t know anything, enjoy this high status. If you find yourself stuck in an attitude of I-know-how-things-work, enjoy that low status. You’re gonna die soon, you know, just like the flowers. When fall comes around, these beautiful creatures quickly die off. That’s how it will be for those who have ‘it’ figured out.
Those of you who keep going, even when it seems hopeless, are able to live at a deeper level. You’ve shown your courage. This depth of existence is the gift that you’ve been promised, if you don’t give in.
Let me be adamant, though suffering can make us stronger, we should never assume that it is thereof good! It is terrible. It is, rather, our insistence to hold to love that shifts the worst situation into something beautiful. The dark side of suffering has then been thwarted, tricked if you will. So again, suffering does not equal love. Just as Love doesn’t create suffering.
We’re all tempted to live selfishly. Believing that it’s all about me, me! But that is precisely that which causes us to suffer. Our tendency to embrace ourselves as the ‘right ones’ is what damages us, and in the end, destroys us.
Let’s not get is twisted friends. Everything that is an act of love, of giving ourselves for the other, is of God. God is always self-giving. Thus we are made whole, when we live by this example. This is the first glimpse of the resurrection. Those moments when fear no longer sits on the throne, but love radiates from within.
A few quick pointers, then, on how to begin living love.
1. Always be ready to listen to those around you. 2. Remember, you don’t need to be constantly talking. 3. Don’t get mad about every little thing.
Isn’t it obvious that anger doesn’t develop love in us? So, come on, breath. Be humble. Listen to ‘them’. Listen to the lure of love from deep within, this whisper could save you in the end.
You can’t live only for yourself while at the same time claiming to care. This is like telling your lover how much you love them, then shooting them in the face. Or stabbing your friend in the back.
On the other hand, there are those who genuinely care about others. They’ll give even the shirt off their backs. These people, the givers, in the act of living lives of compassion are reaping abundant life, right now.
So in conclusion, you can claim to be devoted, but unless you’re intentional, you’re full of shit. You’re lying to yourself. Don’t even call yourself a Jesus follower! That’s a ridiculous little game. True devotion to what matters is seen in people who care about the outsiders, the oppressed, and of course in their refusal to bow to the shouting voices that claim that everything is about them.