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The Peace to Which We Are Called

 
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Prayer-Soldier
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PostPosted: Sun May 26, 2019 5:08 pm    Post subject: The Peace to Which We Are Called Reply with quote

The Peace to Which We Are Called

Scripture:


And some, coming down from Judea, taught the brethren: That, except you be circumcised after the manner of Moses, you cannot be saved. And when Paul and Barnabas had no small contest with them, they determined that Paul and Barnabas and certain others of the other side should go up to the apostles and priests to Jerusalem, about this question. Then it pleased the apostles and ancients, with the whole church, to choose men of their own company and to send to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas, namely, Judas, who was surnamed Barsabas, and Silas, chief men among the brethren. Writing by their hands: The apostles and ancients, brethren, to the brethren of the Gentiles that are at Antioch and in Syria and Cilicia, greeting. For as much as we have heard that some going out from us have troubled you with words, subverting your souls, to whom we gave no commandment: It has seemed good to us, being assembled together, to choose out men and to send them unto you, with our well beloved Barnabas and Paul: Men that have given their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. We have sent therefore Judas and Silas, who themselves also will, by word of mouth, tell you the same things. For it has seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us to lay no further burden upon you than these necessary things: That you abstain from things sacrificed to idols and from blood and from things strangled and from sexual immorality: from which things keeping yourselves, you shall do well. Fare ye well.
(Acts 15:1-2, 22-29)

And he took me up in spirit to a great and high mountain: and he showed me the holy city Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, having the glory of God, and the light thereof was like to a precious stone, as to the jasper stone even as crystal. And it had a wall great and high, having twelve gates, and in the gates twelve angels, and names written thereon, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel. On the east, three gates: and on the north, three gates: and on the south, three gates: and on the west, three gates. And the wall of the city had twelve foundations: And in them, the twelve names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb. And I saw no temple therein. For the Lord God Almighty is the temple thereof, and the Lamb. And the city has no need of the sun, nor of the moon, to shine in it. For the glory of God has enlightened it: and the Lamb is the lamp thereof.
(Revelation 21:10-14, 22-23)

Jesus answered and said to him: If any one love me, he will keep my word. And my Father will love him and we will come to him and will make our abode with him. He that loves me not keeps not my words. And the word which you have heard is not mine; but of the Father who sent me. These things have I spoken to you, abiding with you. But the Paraclete, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring all things to your mind, whatsoever I shall have said to you. Peace I leave with you: my peace I give unto you: not as the world gives, do I give unto you. Let not your heart be troubled: nor let it be afraid. You have heard that I said to you: I go away, and I come unto you. If you loved me you would indeed be glad, because I go to the Father: for the Father is greater than I. And now I have told you before it come to pass: that when it shall come to pass, you may believe.
(John 14:23-29)

Reflection:

The minimalist looks for the least they must do; always seeking the line by which they are able to squeak by and need do no more. To the other end of the spectrum is the legalist who endeavors to impose every possible rule on those who surround them in the belief their zeal for the law will demonstrate their righteousness and will provide insurance to their own salvation. The minimalist cares for little other than squeaking by, while the legalist seeks comfort in the belief that their failures are less than those who surround them. They profess their morals through how they judge others, but too often ignore that by which they should judge themselves.

These extremes are traps. Sadly, it is possible to find ourselves with a foot in both snares. On the one hand, we want to ensure we do enough to get by. On the other, we tend to impose upon others where we are strong while we seek to justify, hide, or ignore our own failings and weaknesses. We believe our judgmentalism hides our flaws. It is through such judgmentalism we impose burdens upon others while we endeavor to excuse ourselves of the burdens we are unable to carry. Whether we fall into the trap of the minimalist or the legalist matters not to the evil one, for he cares not how we miss the mark of what God asks of us, only that we do.

Of course, we must make every effort to understand and live by what God asks of us, but to avoid the traps of extremism, we must not look upon His commandments as legalities over which to argue, rather, as enablers through which to accomplish His will for us. As Jesus told us, the two greatest commandments are to love God and one another. He said, ?The whole law and the prophets depend on these two commandments.? (Matthew 22:36-40)

To follow these commandments, we must ask ourselves what love means? We must ask ourselves how we might demonstrate our love for God and one another? We must begin with the understanding that we are called to care for one another and do no harm. The extremist will attempt to parse words to their agendas, but the one who seeks to do the will of our Lord and Savior will seek to allow the Holy Spirit to lead them in what is right and just and endeavor to live by that to which they are led. (cf. John 14:26)

Left unto our own devices, we can justify any agenda, but if we do not examine the means and the outcomes in relation to the purpose of the commandments of love, what is done may miss the mark of the expectations of God. So that we are not left floundering in the discernment of what God asks of us, Jesus sent forth His Apostles and disciples to share the Gospel of His Truth. They were sent as the good Shepherds for His flock who were lead by the Advocate He asked His Father to send, the Holy Spirit.

If we look to comprehend the purpose and meaning of His commandments, we need not parse words as in a court of law; instead, we must consider the results of our words and actions. We must examine how what we do or fail to do ripples through our relationships with God and one another. We must ask ourselves not what we need to do to get by, but what we are called to do to share the blessings of peace and accomplish the will of God's love.

In this equation, we must turn away from the temptations of our selfish desires. The qualities of love are not found in selfishness, rather, they are found in civility, compassion, caring, and charity. This does not mean we are not to care for ourselves, for we must be healthy and strong if we are to care for another. Should we find ourselves in ill health, that does not mean love cannot come from us, even if we are only capable of small means and acts of kindness.

The only begotten Son of God came to share the blessings of His peace with us as well as to encourage us to share His peace with one another. He provided His Shepherds to help guide us, but we cannot be guided unless our heart is open to listen, learn, and discern. Let us, then, seek to discover and follow what Jesus taught to the good Shepherds He sent forth. Let us invite the Holy Spirit within us. Let us allow Him to lead us in how we may share the peace to which we are called.

Questions for further reflection:

In what ways are we like the one who is only concerned with the minimums of what God asks of us?

In what ways are we like the one who imposes human agendas over that which God asks of us?

In what ways do we allow God to lead us to accomplish what is right and just?

May the peace and blessings of the Lord be with you always,
Prayer Soldier

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