“For when we are harassed by poverty, saddened by bereavement, ill, or in pain, let good friends visit us. Let them be persons who no only can rejoice with those who rejoice but can weep with those who weep.
Let them be persons who know how to give useful advice and how to win us to express our own feelings in conversation.”
There’s a strain of Christianity that wants to tell you that God wants you to prosper. It’s sometimes referred to as the Prosperity Gospel, but really it’s just a symptom of a larger trend within American Christianity that focuses on your religion making you feel good. It goes part and parcel with the entire Christian market that focuses on creating a product for American Christians to buy. It’s really no different than the market that sells you sanitized, “Christianized”, Americanized products to fill your life with. Products that we use as insulation from the difficult parts, the ones that include actual people. It’s the inspirational bible quotes decor that costs $30 and was made in a sweatshop, it’s the Christian music industry that fills the airwaves with songs that are more motivational than religious, it’s the desire to find a monetary solution to every problem instead of actually having to sacrifice something we care about. It’s being at a comfortable distance from other people.
But, I believe we are called to a more rigorous kind of faith. One where we actually have to give of ourselves in ways that are uncomfortable and difficult. A faith where the answers aren’t easy. A faith that forces us to form relationships with each other, instead of just writing a check and forgetting about it. I think that the faith we read about in the New Testament is the kind of faith we can live out every day. And it’s not always, or even often, easy.
Because, sometimes, living your best life through Christ looks like this:
Lord, prepare in me a clean heart that is ready to do Your will. Find in me a willing spirit to follow where You lead. Bring forth in me Your love so that I may give it to all people. Give me the courage to draw close to people, and the strength to love unconditionally. As I draw closer to others may I also draw closer to You. Amen.
“Even though you possess plenty, you are still indigent. You abound in temporal possessions, but you need things eternal. You listen to the needs of a human beggar, yet you yourself are a beggar of God.
What you do with those who beg from you is what God will do with His beggar. You are filled and you are empty. Fill your neighbor from your fullness, so that emptiness may be filled from God’s fullness.”