Sunday, October 4, 2009

Practicing Law According to What God Preaches

"[A]lways pursue what is good both for yourselves and for all. Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. Test all things; hold fast to what is good." 1 Thessalonians 5:15b-18, 21

As Christians these are the words we read and in they seem like fantastic things to aspire to. "Pray without ceasing," "Pursue what is good," "in everything give thanks." However, as law students we may wonder how we are to apply these admonishments to our everyday lives.

First, we are told to love others and always seek their good. You might ask, as I did, "who is my neighbor and whom should I love?" Some are easy to identify as neighbors and just as easy to love, family, close friends, even actual neighbors. However, the path of a law student leads to more "neighbors," what about the "gunner" in your classes? The professor who calls on you and humiliates you in front of the entire class? Or even the guy who cut you off on your way into class in the morning? Each of these people may not seem very lovable. However, each is our neighbor and we are told by Jesus to love them as ourselves.

Second, we should rejoice always. Rejoice always means we should nurture a childlike wonder of all the God has done. It took just a flick of His hand and the entire universe came into being. He has created billions of unique individuals each of which was created in His own image. And in all of whom we may glimpse of the Creator should we look closely enough. This is a particularly difficult aspiration to live up to. Law school is, at the best of times, difficult and exhausting. At the worst frustrating, infuriating, and all-around miserable. However, we should never be so busy or self-absorbed that we forget to stop and wonder at the greatness that is our God.

Third, we are to pray without ceasing and give thanks in everything. There is nothing we have that hasn't come from the hand of God and we should never forget to stop and thank him for the blessings we have. So, while law school is hard and sometimes seems impossible we should always remember it is by God's grace we have the privilege of attending law school and obtaining a higher education. Many in the world are not so lucky.

Fourth, we should remember His faithfulness in fulfilling His plan. God has cast the entire production that is history and each role he gives is important and indispensable. Often we forget that we matter in God's grand plan. It is easy to fell lost in the crowed of students, all of whom seem smarter and infinitely more well qualified to be lawyers than you. However, how much more does God care for us if He feds the sparrows and clothes the flowers? As law student, just beginning our legal journey, we should remember "[i]n all you ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight." (Prov. 3:6)

As law students this is the time in our lives we should decide if we are going to practice law according to what God preaches or go our own way. The Law, like law school is difficult and it is only through God's direction and help that we are able to live up to his commands to us. "I know whom I have believed and I am persuaded that He is able." (II Time. 1:12)

Additional Readings: Matthew 6 & Philippians 4
Source: What Does the Lord Require of You? Advocates Int'l 1997. Ed. Lynn R Buzzard. "Practicing (Law According To) What God Preaches" Alan Button

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