Posted by: Susan Gaddis | May 12, 2009

Injustice and Our Spiritual Disciplines

True faith will cost you something. It will mark you as a Christ follower. You may have to die in the process, but you won’t die cold.

I have been reading Matthew 24 and keep pausing on verse 12: “and because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will wax cold.”

This verse has Jesus speaking to His followers about the end times. It appears that during such times the love of many who claim to be Christians will wax cold because they see lawlessness increase. They probably assume that God isn’t addressing the injustices that lawlessness causes. Where is God? How can He allow these things to happen? Their conclusion is that God is not a God of love and therefore disillusionment sets in and love grows cold.

Jesus came to set up a whole new Kingdom, which He placed into the midst of many lawless kingdoms. He never intended to establish a new religion. His mission was to bring God’s eternal Kingdom to planet earth and to populate it with recreated people. That is what the gospel is all about.

This Kingdom is current. It exists right here and now and will continue into eternity future. This Kingdom that Jesus rules and reigns over is present right in the middle of all the earthly, dysfunctional, and sinful kingdoms.

Matthew records that in the end times God is going to allow these earthly kingdoms to become more and more lawless. Yet, the good news of His Kingdom will continue to be spread throughout all the earthly kingdoms even in the midst of great injustices.

Spiritual practices instruct us in the ways of the Eternal Kingdom. They teach us its values, language, traditions, and government. This Kingdom culture runs counter to the injustice created by lawlessness in the other kingdoms. The beauty of practicing our spiritual disciplines is having a love that doesn’t grow cold in the face of turmoil and wrongness.

The spiritual discipline of fasting is a direct address to the injustice faced by the poor (see Isaiah 58:6-10). Isaiah specifically ties in our practice of fasting (which is more then just abstaining from food) to the breaking of the chains of injustice.

Communion requires us to confront our offenses and move towards reconciliation with God, neighbors, and nations. Paul also makes it clear that there is no distinction between rich and poor at the communion table.

The practice of giving provides for the needs of the poor as well as those who help to tend our souls. It reminds us that God is the owner of all we possess and in His Kingdom we learn to share.

On Sabbath we are all free. All are to rest and enjoy the Lord and the life He gives. Exploitation is forbidden and the workaholic is not allowed to suck others into his black hole.

Studying and meditating on Scripture puts our wrong perceptions into right conceptions. His Word becomes alive and living within us and alters our old way of thinking. Where once we clung to wrong attitudes we now willingly change our opinions to match His opinions. Selfishness gives way to being “other focused.” We learn to love mercy, to do justly, and to live humbly.

Daily prayer, when it is done rightly, gets us past our needs and desires and focuses on the concerns of others and on the worship of the One Who Made Us All.

Rich or poor, slave or free, each is regarded with dignity and value in the One Kingdom.

As lawlessness increases, which it is, we can choose to allow our love to grow cold or grow into a consuming fire. To own a love that is hot rather then cold (or even warm) begins with our spiritual practices, because these disciplines change us, mold us, and frame us. They form a way of living that establishes our faith as a walk and not just a mind set. These disciplines require us to move beyond ourselves and meet injustice with the living love that transforms and engages people with a compassionate God.

The end times won’t be easy, but we don’t have to die cold.

Susan

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Responses

  1. Again… weird… I have been studying in my “free-time” the different of “Dispensationalism” and “Supersessionism”. Though I resonate with much (but not all) that the dispensationalists believe, I feel that often there can seem to be a mentality of “everything is going down and we can’t save the world anywho, so just love Jesus and stare at the sky waiting for him to come back”. BUT… when I read the scriptures (especially Jesus’ words) it doesn’t seem that Jesus had/has that view. I think Sue did a great job of “balancing” a healthy hunger for heaven AND a healthy desire to see “God kingdom come and will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven”.

    Thank you Sue for pointing us back to “Kingdom living” and reminding us of the value and meaning of spiritual disciplines.

  2. Susan, were you eavesdropping when I was praying last night?

    Rather, I sense the Spirit testifying by speaking of the desire to glorify Jesus in and through us by *His* Love, according to His Word.

    Oh Lord, by Your grace, may this be so!!!

  3. AMEN!
    I thank God for speaking powerfully through your words.
    I also have a new quote to add to my book of quotes:
    “Spiritual practices instruct us in the ways of the Eternal Kingdom. They teach us its values, language, traditions, and government. This Kingdom culture runs counter to the injustice created by lawlessness in the other kingdoms. The beauty of practicing our spiritual disciplines is having a love that doesn’t grow cold in the face of turmoil and wrongness.” S. Gaddis


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