Tuesday July 6th, 2010
If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men.
I’m not old. But I’m older than I used to be. (I know, profound statement, but stay with me a little longer.) I remember the passion and fire I had when I was younger. (late teens, early twenties.) I see it in the people that age today. They look around at this world, and don’t feel that it is right, and it isn’t right, and want to change it. I think changing it for the better is a great idea. However, I am not convinced that there is always as much prayer as there is passion. This worries me. I’ve started countless projects, drawn up designs, and devised plans on how we could make this world a better place. I don’t know if I’ve ever finished a single one. I’m not saying don’t try. But I am saying that you should check your motives. There’s that little rebellious person in all of us who wants to fight for something. We want to oppose evil and overcome with good. We want to be superheroes.
But superheroes fight. They practice and train (or have a special ability) so that they can fight and hurt people (some don’t kill, but they still try and hurt.) They focus on putting the bad guys behind bars and protecting the good ones. They take it upon themselves to judge who’s okay for society and who’s not. Is that you? But maybe you’re not into fighting crime fist to fist. Maybe you want to save the whales or the rain forests or enhance the quality of life of KFC chickens. Those aren’t bad things to get involved in, but what’s the point? Are you doing this because you love the environment (or chickens) or are you doing it because you want to feel valued or that your life has purpose. If you want to be valued for what you do, you can never do enough. There is no retirement for superheroes. They fight until they die. If you are looking for a purpose to live for, and you fight for the endangered animals or the sweatshop children or whatever, it may hurt you more than it helps them. Let me explain. First of all, doing something that the Lord isn’t leading you to do means you’re doing it on your own power. Whatever we do on our own power never lasts. It’s like trying to build machinery out of something perishable… like bologna. Even if we get it to work, it won’t last. (I don’t know if it’s possible to make anything out of bologna, but I can take a slice and bite it strategically until it looks like a gear or a sprocket.) Second, It is easy to make enemies out of people who don’t agree. Third, even though you will find people who agree with you on every point, you will become frustrated and embittered when the issue isn’t as important to them as it is to you. You’ll feel like you’re doing all the work and they just don’t care enough.
Now although protecting the earth is a good thing and you can find Biblical evidence that supports our upkeep of it, (Genesis 1:26-31, Genesis 2:15, Leviticus 25:23) We know that in the end, it’s going to burn anyway. God’s going to make a new heaven and a new earth and all our hard work here will be worth nothing at that point. (That doesn’t mean that it isn’t worth anything now.) But will be worth something in the long run is if we tell people about Jesus. If someone gives his life to the Lord, then that person was going to hell, but is now going to heaven. I think this should be the main focus of our lives. To introduce and strengthen each other to Christ. Either we are offering salvation to the lost or we are growing the saints. If we can do that and help the environment or better our government at the same time, I vote for that. But if our cries for justice and judgment overshadows our love of the Lord and His Word, then what good is it? I would rather my neighbor know me as someone who loves Jesus than someone who doesn’t eat tuna because it kills dolphins. Holding picket signs doesn’t seem like we are building bridges between people in Christ or that we’re encouraging people to love Jesus more.
I want to live in peace. I don’t want to start fights. If someone is going to dislike me, I would only want it to be because he hates Jesus and he sees Jesus in my life, like the apostles that stood before the Pharisees in Acts 4. Jesus said that He didn’t come to bring peace, but a sword (Matthew 10:34) and I completely agree with that. (He is Jesus, after all. He knows what He’s talking about.) And I too hold a sword. I have the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God. (Ephesians 6:17) I am responsible for how I use it. I can use it to defend myself in battle (as Jesus always did. (Even when it seemed like He was on the offense, He was defending His title of God (which we don’t have))) or I can go around and just start poking people to see what they’ll do. That doesn’t usually make friends. Now to be honest, I do like to be challenged by friends and the Bible does say that “as iron sharpens iron, so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend” Proverb 27:17, but friends do it in such a way to build someone up, not break down. 1 Corinthians says that knowledge puffs up, but love edifies. So whatever you do, edify in love. And if you edify in love, you will live in peace with all those around you. Even if they are not Christian. They will see Christ in you and their hearts will be touched by the finger of God. It will then be their choice to harden their hearts towards Him or allow them to be softened. But you will do your part in loving them and living with them in peace.
Setting Sun - Sun Setting in SoCal...I forget where exactly.....
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