Eager for Peace

The fourth chapter of Ephesians is a difficult section from which to extract only one meaningful section upon which to comment. Every section is loaded with meat and worthy of a long discourse. Indeed, every sentence in this chapter speaks to my heart and begs my further reflection.

But, that is not the purpose of this exercise so I will content myself to constrain the words to only one of the many beautiful thoughts in this chapter.

Eph 4:1-3  – I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. (ESV)

 A few weeks ago in the blogosphere, there was a strong word on the need for and necessity of confrontation. It was a good word. Confrontation of sin and hypocrisy is necessary now more than ever in our sin-sick, new-age-influenced churches. But, it is easy to go overboard with this. It is easy to spot “what is wrong” especially when all we do is look for that which is out of order.

We are not God’s policemen. That job belongs to the Holy Spirit. (John 16:8-11)

Paul tempers that sort of mentality here as he tells us to be eager to maintain peace.

He also mentions this necessity in another place where he writes:
If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. (Rom 12:18 ESV)

The application of this verse may best be served by using a paraphrase: Refuse to touch the bone of contention.

This is what we need to operate by in our lives, and I’ve seen some bloggers who are beginning to make this shift in their thinking. I’m hoping that they will begin to have good testimony as to its effectiveness.

By effectiveness, I mean that if we can get off the issues that cause controversy, we may very well have a chance to bring someone to the truth we have been trying unsuccessfully to beat them over the head with.

 It is worthy of our calling if we can learn to live at peace, to maintain unity through our humility, gentleness, and patience.

Yes, it is true that this has been pushed to an extreme where now, all things are tolerated in the name of peace. And, yes, the pendulum MUST swing in the other direction. However, I do not believe that it is necessary for us to go to the other extreme of picking a fight over every little thing that we think is wrong.

Make peace and harmony the goal.

Harmony means that there is agreement.

Let us learn to differentiate between the absolutely necessary, that is, the primary, things and those that are not.

Earnestly contend for that which is necessary.

Enjoy the debates over that which is not, but do not allow fellowship to be broken. And if someone is about to break fellowship over something that is debatable, then it is up to you to take the higher road, drop the debate, restore peace and maintain unity.

That is the Word of the Lord to us in this passage.

NOTE: This is the fourth in a weekly posting on the Epistle to the Ephesians. I am not the only one who is writing on this book. There are others who will be posting something on their blog each day of the week. We are each bringing something that the Lord gives us from chapter four of the epistle. You will be greatly blessed and encouraged, and your heart will be filled if you will take the time to read each day’s posting from one of the other saints involved in this collective effort. Put the following link in your “favorites” or on your link bar at the top of your browser: http://www.philter48.com/bbs/ and make it a point to visit everyday.

Virtual Reality

Went south a few miles yesterday to meet Scott and Darla Frantz and Deb (somethingorother). We had a great time of fellowship and getting to know one another (and being picked on by Deb).

These are people I have only known through their blogs and their comments on other posts.

Yesterday we were able to turn “virtual” into “reality.”

It is great to be able to meet other members of the Body of Christ from other parts of the country–especially when I find out that they are being led the same way I am. (something about “confirmation” I like)

Scott is the grillmeister–steaks done to perfection. Darla is the perfect host–avoiding any social faux pas by just being herself. (nothing fancy and no airs) Their children, Lacey (sp?), Derek, and Katrina were able to join in on adult conversation as well as do “kid things.”

The air in that part of Mt. Joy, PA is filled with the love of God and we were refreshed.

And, (all seriousness aside) Deb is a refreshing person to be around.

EVERY Word From God

Mt 4:4
But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.    KJV

Satan tried to tempt Jesus with His apparent need for food and the lack of any sustenance out in the desert.

Had that been me, I would probably have looked at the rocks, seen that they were shaped like loaves of bread, and fell for the temptation.

But Jesus saw much deeper than His immediate need. He saw His need to only do what He saw the Father do; to only say what He heard the Father say. That was an overriding principle in His entire life:

Jn 5:19
Then answered Jesus and said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise.
Jn 12:50
…whatsoever I speak therefore, even as the Father said unto me, so I speak.      KJV

Notice the detail of what He said. It is not enough that we live by the word of God. We must live by EVERY word that comes from God.

There are at least three ways that I need to be able to hear from God so that I get every word.

The first place we begin, of course, is the Bible–also known as the Word of God.

I am constantly amazed by the number of church-going, bible-believing Christians who do not know the Bible. I am not talking about knowing, or believing my particular position on a subject. I’m speaking of the basics. People do not know the books of the Bible. They do not know who wrote the Gospels. They don’t know how many gospel accounts there are. They do not know the story of Paul’s conversion.

Basic stuff!!!

This only tells me that they are not spending time in the Word.

We begin to hear from the Lord as we spend time in His Word.

The second place we get every word that comes from God is in our personal prayer time with the Lord.

In order to do this, prayer must not be something like we run into the room, say “Hi,” spout off our requests, say “Bye” and leave.

No.

We must take time to listen. That seems to be a major challenge for the wired generation.

Thirdly, we hear from God through others.

I thank God for the fellowship of believers. I love the church. But, often, others are not aware that they have heard from the Lord on something, and I need to hear those words, too. (I know that this is often the failure of the local church itself as the pastor does not make room for others, but that is for a different topic of discussion.)

Blogging has increased our ability to hear from the Lord. I get to hear what God is saying to others, and my faith is built up, my desire is increased, my awareness is heightened.

Blogging will not replace nor supplant the need for the local church, but it certainly is providing a means for many who do not yet have a church where they feel at home.

How has blogging–whether you write or just read–affected your walk with the Lord?