18 All this is from God. Through Christ, God made peace between us and himself, and God gave us the work of telling everyone about the peace we can have with him.19 God was in Christ, making peace between the world and himself. In Christ, God did not hold the world guilty of its sins. And he gave us this message of peace.20 So we have been sent to speak for Christ. It is as if God is calling to you through us. We speak for Christ when we beg you to be at peace with God.
I listened recently to a CD of a message my pastor gave while we were out of town. He was challenging us about our role in the world today. How the Church - Body of Christ - was supposed to impact the world. Are we monastery or missionary minded?
According to dictionary.com, a monastery is
|1.||a house or place of residence occupied by a community of persons, esp. monks, living in seclusion under religious vows.|
In Brian's terms it's a place where God's children go to hide with fellow believers from this nasty world. So maybe Brian's thoughts are not very reverent, but it's pretty safe to say he prefers the missionary-minded outlook. Afterall, our own Lord's words were "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature" before He departed for heaven. We are supposed to be His ambassadors. (Reread those verses mentioned above.) God gave us the job of being ambassadors showing the world how to have peace. Peace with fellow man begins with having peace with God.
Something that has come to mind more and more lately are these words from the Bible: "Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good." It seems too often we fight others with harsh words or fists ... or in the case with nations, with threats of sanctions and wars. I wonder if we tried this Biblical concept of overcoming evil with good, if we could really have a more peaceful planet. To be honest, I'm not holding out much hope for that. We are too selfish, looking out for our own interests and it's not man's default manner to bless those who hurt us and love and pray for our enemies. I know, I'm human, too.
It amazes me sometimes how conservative Christians will focus so hard on keeping rules of good morals even certain standards of dress. However, many of those same people are quick to jump on the bandwagon of fighting evil -- with the same methods the world uses. I don't know when Jesus' teachings about loving others - even our enemies - went out-of-date.
Here is a novel concept: Paul commended the Thessalonians for being a model to all the believers in Macedonia and Achaia. What if true followers of Christ today actually acted on what we say we believe. We say we follow Christ, so why not act on that and just see if it makes a difference in this world?
One last thing. I read a church sign the other day about prayer. I can't remember the exact quote, but it said something about prayer wasn't about changing God. It's about changing you. Really made me think. I believe most of the time, I pray as if I have to beg God to see things my way and heal so and so or work out the details of such and such. Maybe my prayers are too "me" centered and I need to make them more about "Your kingdom come, Your will be done on Earth as it is in heaven."
Good grief, I even pray selfishly.
Enough with the spiritual ramblings this morning. Just wanted to write my thoughts. Some of this has been on my mind for days.
I think I'll go for a walk now.