That title, I suppose, sums up what I’ve been up to over the past several weeks. What about you? I haven’t written a Peace in the Storm post since the "What David Knew" series, so I thought I would check in with some recent musings from my journal…
- Inspired by a sermon series at our church, I’ve tried to go back and look at Jesus and Christianity in a new light. We get so used to all the Christian talk and thinking and interpretation that it’s good, I think, to dust off our faith and rediscover (or discover) why we believe what we believe. I was surprised at how many things I held true for no other reason than tradition and "that’s what you’re supposed to believe." And believing something just because it’s tradition or just because it seems to be the "right" thing to believe doesn’t make it wrong. But it’s sort of like a science experiment… You can read the findings of the experiment and think, "Oh, cool," and you know what you need to know. But it’s not the same as if you conduct the experiment and experience the outcome first-hand, making the findings truly come alive to you. So what have been my findings during this season of rediscovery? In short, God is good and Jesus saves – both now and for eternity. Did I not know that before? Of course I did. But God is even bigger and better to me now than He was before.
- Whereas the New Testament book of James may sound a lot like a "contemporary" version of the Law with lots of do’s and don’ts, I recently saw it described as a book of community ethics. In other words, "this is how the community of Christian believers can best live together." It’s not law. It’s a recommended way of living. And when you follow the recommended way of living, peace follows.
- I read the book of Philemon a few weeks ago (which is a letter from Paul to the host of the Christian church gathering in Colosse, named Philemon). This man, Philemon, is described as a good man, but he was also a slaveowner – that was part of the culture at that time, and the rights and wrongs of it are for another time and place. One of his slaves, Onesimus, escaped and crossed paths with Paul while he was in prison in Rome (Paul was in prison, not Onesimus). Paul eventually sent young Onesimus, whom he called a son, back to Philemon. In this letter to Philemon, Paul told him to receive Onesimus not as a slave, but as a brother – yet Philemon did still own his rights as a slave. Here’s what I learned from this story: (1) Christianity does not break the "rules" of this world. Christianity did not free Onesimus from slavery in an earthly sense. Paul still had to send him back to Philemon, because that was the right, law-abiding thing to do. And while Paul was radical in many ways, he was not a lawbreaker. (2) Christianity does call the kingdom of God to earth in that while Onesimus was still a slave here, he was a son in the kingdom of God, just the same as Philemon was, and Philemon was instructed to receive him as a brother. So the ways of the kingdom rule even in the midst of contradictory circumstances here on earth. Remember, we are to fix our eyes on what is unseen, not what is seen. This, it seems to me, is demonstration of how that works. No matter what our circumstances look like here on earth, we must look deeper… What do they look like in heaven?
And I suppose I’ll close with that, and I pray that God will somehow speak through these words. I welcome your comments, questions, disagreements, etc.
Thanks for stopping by to read, and may God give you peace, wisdom and understanding – now and always.