I was Reading Romans today and got to:
"Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification." http://read.ly/Rom14.19.NIV
which is really hard, I thought to myself.......
Clearly we are not being told just to say nothing and put up with anything just so there can be some kind of 'peace' because elswhere we are informed ( and I paraphrase) 'that for evil to triumph it only requires the good to do nothing'
So how do we 'make every effort'?
One of the hardest areas in which to demonstrate wisdom, in any aspect of our life, is that of knowing which battles to fight and which are not important. So often human pride overuns our otherwise better judgement and stubornly refuse to yield a single inch on a single point. All the while your mind can be screaming 'this is stupid, this isn't worth it....' but onward you press, looking and acting like anything other than 'a Christian soldier', piling damage upon damage. We see this irrational, but sadly too common, character trait kill relationships, destroy fellowships, make life miserable and, ironically, lose the bigger more important battles.
How do we decide on which issues we must take a stand and disturb an apparant peace in order to acheive a deeper and lasting peace? It is a simple enough question that we consistently fail to answer correctly, usually because we succombe to self righteousness and self justification. Ok, I'm beginning to sound like it's too difficult to even bother trying.......
Perhaps the focus should on the word 'peace' and in gaining a biblical and correct understanding of that. If the sentence was changed for the benefit of English speakers 2000 years after the event perhaps it would read something like:
"Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to deeper and closer relationships with Jesus and wholeness of life and to spiritually benefit and build up everyone involved."
This then becomes the criteria used to judge if an action, argument or battle really is worth 'pursuing to the point of disruption'.
Go through each point, 'on our knees and with the bible open' and ask: "will this course of action, my attitude and my motivation"
1 lead to a deeper and closer relationship with Jesus?
2 bring deeper wholeness or healing into a situation?
3 result in spiritual benefit, and strength?
Even if it is clear, agreed and appropriatley confirmed that the aim we are seeking to achieve is 'right' we must still ask these questions of our attitude, motivation and intentions.
The right battle fought in the wrong way is hardly any better than fighting the wrong battle!
Even if this does nothing for anyone else it is my own finger pointing back at me, because, as one of our worship leaders often says,
"I am guilty as challenged" and still have serious lessons to learn.
Never underestimate the strength of the pride that surfaces and embeds within us the overwhelming need to win every little point. Learn to yield to grace - that's my advice to me!
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