Thursday, November 20, 2014

The state of Shalom

You have probably heard of the Hebrew word Shalom, and maybe you have heard that it means peace. However, the full definition of the word Shalom designates being at peace with ourselves, health, wealth, fulfillment, satisfaction, contentment, tranquility. In other words, whole in the spirit. The tradition of Shalom goes even further to describe how to achieve a state of Shalom that we all desperately crave.

1. Reconcile with God.
    We reconcile with God by first confessing. (1 Jn 1:8-10) Keep in mind that true Biblical confession involves more than mere admission to our wrongs. It is accepting what God says about sin is true. That it's harmful to self, others, and our relationship with the father. (Rom 6:23) After confessing, we must repent. (2 Cor 7:8-11) Again, true Biblical repentance is more than a change of action, but a change of heart.  Through repentance, we are saying that we believe what God says about holiness and righteousness is true. 

2. Reconcile with your faith Family. 
    Strangely enough there can be considerable conflict within a church. Much of it stemming from the diverse spiritual gifting, personality, maturity, and worship preferences of its members. While scripture reveals that diversity can be a source of great strength. (1 Cor 12:12-31, Rom 12:3-8) We must be committed to God's spirit, and the common good of his children for it to work. (1 Cor 12:7) However, it can become a great weakness if we are only concerned with our own good and try to force people to conform to us, rather than inspire people to emulate Christ. We reconcile, by confessing and repenting of our betrayal of the body of Christ through our selfish behavior, then seeking forgiveness from those we've wronged.

3. Reconcile with your Enemies.
    This can be the hardest point to live up to, for the sinful nature of the flesh compels us to hold onto hatred of those who hurt us. Especially, if these people are clearly in the wrong, yet have no desire to own up to that wrong. So it is no wonder that this point robs more people of the state of Shalom than any other. What we must remember is that forgiveness is about Christ-likeness, for he forgave all us undeserving people of earth. When we do the same, we are living up to the truth we hold sacred. In doing so we let go of the anger that grieves our spirit, which opens the door to forgiveness from God; which is crucial in reconciling with him. (Matt 6:14-15)
    FYI:  Forgiveness in no way rationalizes sin, or has to directly involve the offender. It only means letting go of that spirit of vengeance that was never ours to wield in the first place. (Rom 12:17-21)
    Remember, what Jesus reveled about the way that we treat others is a direct reflection on our respect for God. (Matt 25:31-45) So hopefully, you now realize that these three points are all intertwined enough that if we fail at one, we fail at them all. 

    If we truly commit to reconciliation as outlined here, then, and only then can we hope to reconcile with self and find peace, be at shalom. The sad reality of this is that many of us do it all backwards. We seek peace for and unto ourselves, and never consider how others fit into the picture, let alone God. The world around us even encourages this backwards approach. Yet, they are all wondering why their peace is so easily and continuously disrupted, and feel so lost, broken, and incomplete inside.

God recreated a broken man.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

The Warrior's Way

The 7 ways of a Godly Warrior

A godly warrior must. . .
   1. Glorify God and God alone. (Ex 34:14, Ps 69:30-33, 119:9-16)
   2. Vanquish evil without resorting to evil. (Rom 12:17-21)
   3. Defend innocence. (Pr 24:11-12)
   4. Help and mentor believers, the lost, and broken. (2 Tim 3:16-17)
   5. Share their strength with fellow warriors, the lost, and the broken; just as God shares His strength with them in their battle with sin. (Gal 6:2, 1 Pete 5:6-7, 2 Pete 1:3-4)
   6. Emulate their master Jesus as a disciple. (John 14:31, 15:9, 
Matt 20:25-28)
   7. hold themselves accountable to the authority they wield, which is the sword of the spirit. (James 1:22-25)

A truly accountable warrior knows the sting of the authority bestowed upon them, and know not to use is hastily with the broken and lost. Warriors can lose their way when they turn on the innocent and broken as if they were evil. Making the lost feel utterly condemned and hopeless, rather than loved. Leading the broken even further astray by their judgmental attitude. (Matt 18:6-9) By engaging in such bad judgement they are defending evil, not destroying it. This ultimately happens when one chooses to glorify self, rather than God.

Remember, not all wars are fought on a battlefield. Not all battles are fought with literal weapons.

Don't hate the way of the warrior, hate the evil that distorts it into something selfish and wicked, which is all to common these days. 

Are you a Godly warrior, or just a squire?

a Godly warrior in the armor of God