As I said to a brother in the faith yesterday (Saturday, September 26, as of this writing), the world feels a bit different, today. There seems to be a qualitative difference. I have embarked on a new leg of the journey, as though I have boarded a ship to I know not where. Still, I am not alarmed. I know who takes my hand, and I know that this adventure will take me ever closer to Him. So, no, I am not alarmed. I am at peace.
Writing to the church at Philippi, Paul writes about an unfathomable peace, one that is beyond all understanding, associated with doing the will of God, that will mount a guard around your heart and your mind, in Christ Jesus.
This was not some special insight granted Paul while he was in a cushy loft or penthouse. Paul wrote that letter from a dungeon, where he was in chains, guards and prison bars all around him. Do you see the ironic parallel, though? He, Paul, surrounded by guards keeping him imprisoned, writes about a guard set upon keeping you pure.
Truly, I have been pondering that peace ever since I noticed its presence about me. I would never have thought to experience it in connection with doing something that most would see as being self-oriented, and yet, there it is.
It is as though my thought process was like, “OK, I own my own company, now, and it promises a herculean task ahead. OK. Thank You, Lord!”
I think that the quality that most stands out to me is the utter lack of fear, indeed of total and complete confidence. Now, not a confidence in myself, mind you, but a confidence that, yes, this is the right path, and God has got my back (and my front, my sides, and my up, and my down). That He is, in fact, all around. You see, this is not a trust in me, but a trust in the guard all around me.
Do you recall the terror of Gehazi, the servant of Elisha, when they were surrounded by an army, and Elisha’s response? “Fear not, for greater are those who are with us, than those who are with them.” 1 There is no one greater than God, so when He is all around about you fear becomes a non-sequitur.
Where there is no fear, there is peace, and that peace takes on an unfathomable character when your past experience is telling you that you really ought to be feeling fear in that situation, but fear has fled the field.
For the humbled man, broken, abused, and pilloried by life, the total and absolute absence of fear is an unnatural situation—indeed supernatural. Ever since I can remember, fear has been a constant battle of mine, but on that day, realizing the path before me, shrouded though it is, fear was no where to be found. It was simply gone—and that, my friend, made me stand up and take notice.
Even while I was attempting to explain it to that brother of mine, my mind was still trying to wrap itself around what it was taking in, and trying to make sense of it. Even as I spoke to him, trying to seem as if I knew what I was talking about, it was like my mind was saying, “Can this be for real?” All I can say right now is I hope it never leaves.
Quite often in my online adventures I run into people who seem quite unable to hide their loathing of all of the things of God, blaming Him for all that they have ever done to their own lives. Reason and fairness very clearly are not constant companions of theirs—indeed, if ever present at all.
At the very mention of Him, they rail and moan and rake, the coals of their hatred never being hot enough for their satisfaction. That and recent events make me question: when you take a gun away from someone, does it make them a better person? Does the vileness in their soul not, in truth, live on? Will they not, in fact, continue scheming their way into Hell? Scripture tells us that merely being angry without cause is the same as being guilty of murder, and this murderer’s weapon is the tongue.
Murder of any variety has a destination of Hell, and the return address is your heart.
What eternal use, therefore, is law upon law upon law when all those around you insist upon violating the most basic and simple law of all: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind and all your strength, and love your neighbor as yourself” 2?
In such a world, where is peace? Why bother taking their gun away when they will simply use their mouth?
You don’t change a society by taking away their weapons; you change it by taking away their hearts.
Through the Prophet Ezekiel God told the Israelites, I will gather you from the peoples and fetch you out of the lands where you were scattered and give you the land of Israel. They shall come there and take away all the detestables and all the abominations of it, and I will give them one heart, and a new spirit put within you, and I will take away the stony heart from their flesh and I will give them a heart of flesh so that my ordinances they will walk and my Law keep and do, and they will be my people, and I will be their God.3
When God revealed that grand plan to the Prophet He said nothing about taking away their weapons, because they would not be changed by that, but would simply make more weapons and use them on each other.
The problem is not the weapons; the problem is the hearts. Their hearts must be changed. If you do not change their hearts, whatever else you do will simply be a waste of time.
Ever since the Umpqua Massacre this has been on my mind: that a man would hate so very much that he would put a bullet in the brain of any follower of Christ that he came across is witness to the condition of his heart and the destiny of his soul.
It is a truth that rages forth in spite of the cynical efforts of the mass media to hide that aspect of the hideocity perpetrated in Oregon against God and His people on October 1, 2015.
Yes, certainly it was a crime against humanity, but it was also a crime against Christianity—a hate crime of most epic proportions—and therefore, a hate crime against God Himself.
What will be your reply? Will you call what is αγαπη4 hate, what is hate justified, and what is unadulterated lust love? Or will you turn your heart to seek the truth instead of insisting upon a lie? Will you seek to murder hate—or redeem it? What is the right path to take?
Underneath the falling leaves, Messiah looks on
At the rending of the place He has poured His Love
And the sorrow streaks His face With undying Love
As He contemplates the fate Rendered from above.
Jesus, Christ, Messiah, Lord of all there is, told those following Him to take up their cross—daily—and follow Him.
He who made the universe, and therefore holds governance over it, nevertheless executed, not those deserving, but humility, taking on the reek of the sinful form, and allowed those deserving of the penalty of death to instead execute it upon Him.
Αγαπη4. Love. Self-sacrifice. Take up the cross.
Wonderful. Counselor. Mighty God. Father of Eternity. Prince of Peace.
Do you want peace?
Do you want real peace?
Do you want True Peace?
Which do you prefer, the easy road of eternal torture and the undying fire of everlasting torment? Or would you prefer real, true, genuine, everlasting Peace?
Then why not follow the Prince of Peace?
Take up your cross—daily—and follow Him.
12 Kings 6:16
4A-ga-pay. It is a Greek word meaning to sacrifice of yourself for the sake of others; that is, self-sacrificial love.