Being a Christian, I frequently contemplate how to integrate my faith with the practice of law. Eventually, I concluded that the real issue is integrating the practice of law with being a Christian. It could not be any other way. Being a Christian is not something that I compartmentalize or turn on and off depending on my environment. Rather, as a Christian believer, I have a framework from which to approach life, and I use it wherever I go, be it taking my kids to school or working for a law firm.
Before I talk about this framework, I need to give a quick synopsis of what it means to be a Christian. I believe in Jesus’ death by crucifixion at the hands of the Romans. I believe that three days later he returned to life, breaking the chains of death and sin. Through the gift of his sacrifice, I find grace even when I falter. It is for this reason that I put my trust in God and follow His plan for my life.
As a Christian law student, I see God working through me in several areas. My faith gives me a framework to deal with the stresses of life, such as taking a law school exam or going to an interview. Instead of wasting energy stressing out about something I have no power to change, I give those situations to God in prayer. God gives me peace to deal with those situations, and I put my faith in Him to work out the intricacies. Of course, I still study (like crazy!) but ultimately, I know God is in control.
Another area where I see God working relates to my talents as a future lawyer. God blessed me with a set of skills, and He allows me to use those skills to analyze a complex legal problems. I use my engineering abilities and my legal training to discern the unique components of cutting-edge technology and weave those items into a patent. My talents and abilities come from God, and I seek to use these skills in my calling to be a patent attorney (after I pass the bar). God gave me certain gifts and talents through which I realize his plan for me. You may be called to serve God in a different way. God uses these gifts to shape and mold me as I discover my identity as someone made by Him.
A third area pertains to my response to ethical dilemmas and to everyday life experiences. I seek to approach these situations in a way consistent with my beliefs as a Christian. When faced with difficult choices, I think to myself, “What would God want me to do in this situation?” I do not have all the answers, but I know that God does. In humility, I strive to honor God and live my life in a way that points others to something greater than themselves. I know I fall short of this goal, but hopefully others look past my shortcomings and do not see me as a stumbling block. Rather, I hope my lasting legacy here at John Marshall is one that enables others to connect with God.
If you feel lost or stressed and want someone to talk to, please feel free to come to a Christian Legal Society meeting. We get together to eat lunch and talk about topics facing law students. Friendships with other Christian believers can make a big difference, and we would love to have you join us.
By Charlie Green