Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Making Peace with Yourself First

War on the Inside Leads to War on the Outside
The True Peace Process
Barbara Henderson

Have you ever wondered what you personally can do to bring about peace on earth?  Or, what can you do to at least be sure you aren’t part of the problem?  Have you ever considered the success rate of appeasing aggressors – whether they are aggressors in your personal life or on a global scale?  I would guess that a conservative estimate of the percent of the earth’s population who would truly like to see the world at total peace is 99% at least.  Can it be possible that the other 1% are the ones causing all the problems?  That isn’t actually the case.  People want peace, but they don’t personally want to begin the global peace process by making peace in the one place where they actually have the authority to make peace.  True peace for the individual begins when an individual makes peace with God Almighty on His terms.  From the vantage point of peace with God, the individual can begin to make peace with those around them.  Sounds simple?  Well, actually it is simple.  It just isn’t easy. 

You will always be on the frontlines of your personal battle with:
your sin nature,
the world systems and all the things they offer,
and the demonic influence of the devil and his fallen angels. 
In other words you are constantly fighting a three front war.  Consider the two fronts of WW2.  The European and the Pacific theaters took all the man-power and will-power the free nations could supply, and the victories were very hard to come by.  Now, imagine if there had been a third front.  To say the least victory would have been much more difficult and the battles likely prolonged in the process.

Second, you have to fight the battle to establish the truth of scripture
in your own heart,
the heart of your family, and
the heart of your church.  Once established, you must fight to maintain the truth. 

Third, you have to fight to be sure that everyone understands the importance of holding fast to the truth and passing the truth on to the next generation.   Today there is an overwhelming number of ‘easy good news’ churches.  The importance of the truth is trivialized in favor of not offending non-believers.  Of course it is wrong to intentionally offend anyone, but the One we should be most concerned about offending is Jesus Christ Himself.  If we do not stand firmly on the foundations of the faith it definitely offends Christ!  Furthermore, to offend Christ is offend our own savior and risk the souls of the lost.  How can they be saved if they do not know how?  How can they know how if no tells them for fear of offending them?  To tell the truth there is probably a little fear of personal embarrassment with most Christians when it comes to that.  No one likes to stand out as someone the world makes fun of or stereotypes negatively.

In the midst of the ‘let’s all get along’ movement in the church, there is a fear of being the one who is divisive.  No one wants to be the one who points out doctrinal error.  Maybe they see some souls supposedly getting saved and they don’t want to quench the spirit.  As long as someone is getting saved then everyone should keep their mouths shut regarding deviant theology and doctrine.  Theology and Doctrine are even considered inconsequential as long as someone is getting saved.  Or, so goes a lot of modern church teachings.  Within these churches there are many willing to consort with denominations known to be in grievous error and even some cults like Mormons.  There is a call for Christians of all denominations to reconcile.  This cannot be done as any committed Christian is well aware.  We are to be reconciled to God.  We are not called to reconcile with every person’s idea of religion.  Neither are we called to bring peace to the world.  We are called to clearly present the gospel of Jesus Christ to the lost.  We are not called to make the gospel easier or harder, or to add anything to it. 

The TRUTH is that the deviant teachings, no matter how many souls are allegedly getting saved, are divisive!  They are dividing the church from the teaching of Jesus Christ and the Apostles.  Did Jesus or the Apostles or Paul ever teach to just get along?  No.  They taught to earnestly contend for the faith.  They thought any error in teaching Christian principles was a major conflict, and they were not hesitant to jump into the fray and defend the teachings of God. 

So, you can see that the battle is continually raging.

The battle is raging within you constantly.  You must be on guard that you are not led astray.  If the Apostle Paul knew he personally had the capacity to become a castaway – someone no longer fit for service – then we can rest assured that each believer has that capacity as well.  Never grow cocky in assuring yourself that you have climbed above the fray and have no risk of falling.

Self defense required – personally and nationally.  Self defense is required!  It is a constant battle, so you must not go into battle unprepared.  You must defend yourself against the major fronts of this war!  Self defense requires restraint!  You must restrain your sin nature.  You must restrain yourself from allowing the things of the world to tempt you into allowing them first place in your heart.  And you must defend against attacks by the devil by continually wearing the whole armor of God.  Restraining evil is not for sissies!  Christians personally work to restrain themselves from doing what God calls wrong.  Nations have laws by which people are required to live.  Law breakers are restrained by punishment for breaking laws.  Free nations often find themselves in the role of restraining and punishing rogue nations who care not for freedom. 

Godly objectives required – personally, religiously, nationally, and globally.
For any war to be won there must be clear objectives. 
Personally, objectives should include personal obedience to God Almighty in a manner that is cheerful and thankful;
holding fast to the truth of scripture; and
giving people a choice in where they spend eternity by truthfully presenting the Jesus Christ of the Bible as they way of salvation.  (These days you have to make it clear that the Jesus Christ of the Bible is NOT the same Jesus presented by Moslems, Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses, or any other claim to be Jesus that does not acknowledge Him as the pre-existent, born of a virgin, Triune God of the Holy Bible)

Religiously, the objectives are the same.  Don’t be hasty to lead a rebellion against a preacher that does truthful sermons but doesn’t do much of anything else.  Pray for him, and let God deal with him.  Do be hasty to confront error from the pulpit!  Be sure you are correct.  Get counsel from leaders.  But do not sit still and allow a preacher of the gospel to preach heresy from the pulpit!

And even nationally, when the call to war comes the rules are the same.  The goal is to stop evil doers or at the very least to confine them to as small an area as possible.  It isn’t to gain personal or national glory. It isn’t to increase riches or wealth.  It is to uphold the truth, and work to ensure that all people have a way to at least know the truth and live in a place where life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness are things the government is working to ensure to all the people.

I personally have a very difficult time accepting the current armed interventions by the USA in places like Iraq and Afghanistan.  The reason is they are trying to confine and restrain evil without allowing the free exercise of religion to our own soldiers or the people of the nations in which they are fighting.  It does not matter in the slightest which repressive Islamic dictator is in charge.  If Christians are persecuted and not allowed to speak then there is nothing the USA or any other nation will be able to do to improve the lives of those living under a restrictive dictator or Islamic combination of theocracy and dictatorship.  There will also be no lessening of hate toward non-Islamic people or safety for those who refuse to kiss the foot of the oppressor jihadists.

So, we are back to the beginning.  Wars come globally because of wars going on inside a person.  There is no global peace as long as there is no peace in the heart of man.  Peace in the heart comes when peace is made with God Almighty.  Personal peace with God is the beginning of peace in a family, a church, a work place, and a nation.  No, there will not be total peace on earth until God Himself is the governor, but there can certainly be a much better world the more people who start the peace process by personally taking care of their own peace with God Almighty.  Honestly, that is the only peace that any individual has the authority to make. 

Regarding those people standing on street corners holding signs or sporting bumper stickers that say, ‘give peace a chance’, each of them needs to pick their own worst enemy and make peace with that person.  Or just pick the person they find most annoying.  Once they manage that they can move on to their next worst enemy and their next most annoying person.  Of course that will never happen because they won’t be able to make peace with anyone who doesn’t want to make peace in return.  Of course it won’t work.  A lot happens in the name of peace that is really just coercing one person or ethnic group or population into the terms set out by the dictator of the moment.  It really is not peace at all.  

It is a good thing to know and accept that the only peace you have any control over is peace between you and God Almighty.  Through that peace - which passes understanding - you may be able to make peace with others. 

Visit my author page – thank you.