Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Peace

In Sunday's service, I brought up the subject of "Peace". Strong's defines it as, "eirene, A state of rest, quietness and calmness; an absence of strife; tranquility. It generally denotes a perfect well-being. Eirene includes harmonious relationships between God and men, men and men, nations, and families. Jesus as Prince of Peace gives peace to those who call upon him for personal salvation."
The scripture was Galatians 5:22, 25 and Luke 1:79. Galatians defines the character of a person who lives and walks in line with God's perfect plan. God's intention is for us to have peace in our lives. His Spirit produces a harmonious balance of love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. It's one big package.
We are 3 parts: mind, body and spirit. It's easy to get out of balance if we emphasize too much on any one area. I tend to be very logical and analytical, trying to rationalize too much. I tend to disconnect myself physically and spiritually. Not good. That's what gets me feeling like I did the other day: overloaded and spent, judgmental and irritable, and generally, difficult to be around. Everything bothered me. I realized that Saturday morning and rationally, I decided I needed to remove myself physically from the situation and spend some time spiritually (praying). Well, I took care of the spiritual part, exercising my prayer....connecting to God... But I did nothing for my body and I disconnected my thoughts from it all too. Sheesh....I go from one extreme to the other.
Back to the lesson. We connect ourselves spiritually through our relationship with God: through prayer, meditation and reading His Word. Gal. 5:25 tells us "If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit." Literally, it is following the path that God lays down for us. That path of obedience is what brings us into a perfect well-being. I believe God's intention is for us to enjoy our lives, take care of our bodies, our minds and have good relationships. Again: to much emphasis on one area is dangerous.
I have heard it said that one can be too spiritually minded to be any earthly good. I have very little patience for Christian denial of reality. I'm speaking of those who pretend their problems don't exist, who never seem to outgrow their circumstances, they stay in poverty (financial, physical and mental), and still walk around with a stupid grin saying they're "blessed."
I have to be careful here. I tend to get judgmental and don't want to go there. But I see a real contrast between contentment and denial.
I know a family with 8 kids. The father is an educator, mom stays at home and home schools the kids. Now, I first met this family about 15 or so years ago when they were living in a little (1100-1200 sq. ft) house with 3 bedrooms and a one car garage. (They had only 2 or 3 kids then.) This is one of the NICEST families I know. They are pleasant to be around, they're talented musicians, they smile a lot.... but they also acknowledge their struggles and I've seen them grow, spiritually, emotionally and physically. They are now living in a huge house on a large piece of land in the country. I know they still have challenges; they don't deny them. They've learned to be content and their lives reflect it. They don't need to SAY they're blessed, the fruit is evident.
Contrast that with some other families I met around the same time. As long as I have known them, when you ask how they're doing, you get the same answer: "I'm blessed..." Now, I don't doubt that God can bless them. I don't doubt He does. But I look at their "fruit" and see something else. They are always behind financially, they drive cars that are falling apart, they have no career plan or they try to make ends meet with multi-level marketing schemes (in which they wind up losing money, time and confidence). Their houses are dirty, there's junk outside, they are fighting physical sickness because they don't take care of themselves...They've never moved beyond their circumstances.
I ran into a group of them over Christmas. They were all together. One of the men, who called me "Brother", told me how "blessed" he was that he was now on 100% disability and he didn't have to work. Damn...the guy is close to 300 lbs!!! If he got off his ass and got healthy, he could probably work and he could contribute something and really be blessed. Sheesh.. They're all a clan: they go to the same church and they're still holding on to some perverted idea that godliness is about being poor, going to church 3 or 4 times a week and confessing their healing while eating whatever they want and not taking care of themselves.
Ok...I have to be careful. I don't want to be judgmental. BUT OMG! I wanted to take my "brother" and beat his head against a wall! I pray for compassion and understanding. Lord, let me love these people and have gentleness, kindness and self-control. Sorry, I got away from the lesson...bunny trail....
Well here's the other part of the equation: Luke 1:79, Zacharias' prophecy of the birth of Jesus. He came "to give light to those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace." The only way to connect ourselves to God is spiritually, and He then guides us physically and mentally. The bible is full of instruction for perfect well-being.
We can't neglect any of our 3 parts. But we need the Spirit of God to direct us or we will get out of balance. God, give me light when I'm in darkness, guide my feet into the way of peace. Help me to maintain a healthy lifestyle by staying mentally and physically fit. And help me most of all, to be fruitful in love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Amen.

2 comments:

Life is better blonde said...

wow, what a refreshing dose of truth!! your absolutely right, whatever happened to "God helps those who help themselves"?

Pauly said...

Thanks, Elisabeth. Funny thing is, God helps us even when we DON'T help ourselves. Few take advantage of it though.