Reproclaiming the Everlasting Gospel
Be a Blessing! Be Kind to One Another!
These exhortations from one person to another were common in the holiday season in December 2016 and have continued on into a hard winter in 2017. I have heard them from folks across the religious and political spectrum. It is an unusually cold and wet winter in many parts of North America and political change has many uncertain or even fearful.
These sentiments seem right at first take. I want people to do these things also. But on what basis do they rest? If we must “think” about how to be a blessing or to be kind, then we probably are not doing these things as a matter of course. Our thoughts may be drawn aside or with a few successes we can get to boasting of ourselves and commending ourselves for how well we are doing. Or we can “think” about how bad we are failing and give up. Either can mark a quick end to the effort as we “think” of other things to do.
One of George Fox's favorite Scripture verses is Romans 14:17, "For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit,” He quotes it explicitly often and makes indirect references to it even more often.
So, how do we get righteousness, peace and joy? Come into the Kingdom of God.
How do we do that? Obey what we hear and know to do.
When this becomes the rhythm for living, being a blessing is unconscious. Miracles happen around us we don't even know about, nor need to know. When we do “blessing and kindness” in our own mind and strength, we do not have the Mind of Christ to rule over us. When we are in our own minds we judge ourselves competent to exhort one another outwardly to do good works. In the Mind of Christ, we may be moved to compel one another to Good Works, to exhort one another to heed the Teacher who will show us the next thing to do. We will go where the Shepherd goes because we know His Voice. But we won’t need to teach one another to know God, because we will Know as we are Known. We will find the Perfect Law that gives freedom in our hearts and minds because our Teacher has planted it there, not by our own striving or wisdom.
We can fall out of this place, to our grief. Being in our minds won’t help then either.
Below is a portion of Fox’s Epistle 10:
Friends,--Whatever ye are addicted to, the tempter will come in that thing; and when he can trouble you, then he gets advantage over you, and then ye are gone. Stand still in that which is pure, after ye see yourselves; and then mercy comes in. After thou seest thy thoughts, and the temptations, do not think, but submit; and then power comes. Stand still in that which shows and discovers; and there doth strength immediately come. And stand still in the light, and submit to it, and the other will be hushed and gone; and then content comes. And when temptations and troubles appear, sink down in that which is pure, and all will be hushed, and fly away. Your strength is to stand still, after ye see yourselves; whatsoever ye see yourselves addicted to, temptations, corruption, uncleanness, etc., then ye think ye shall never overcome. And earthly reason will tell you, what ye shall lose; hearken not to that, but stand still in the light that shows them to you, and then strength comes from the Lord, and help contrary to your expectation. Then ye grow up in peace, and no trouble shall move you. David fretted himself, when he looked out; but when he was still, no trouble could move him. When your thoughts are out, abroad, then troubles move you. But come to stay your minds upon that spirit which was before the letter; here ye learn to read the scriptures aright. If ye do any thing in your own wills, then ye tempt God; but stand still in that power which brings peace.
The inward voice that judges us comes from the Mercy Seat. It is for our cleansing so that we can be brought back to the Good stuff again.
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