As Christians, why do we struggle against the world when we are told our enemy is not flesh and blood (Ephesians 6:12)? Why do we wage war as the world does, with hateful words and rhetoric, when we are told these are not to be our weapons (2 Corinthians 10:3-5)? Why do we insist on clutching to our own agendas when following God’s agenda would be so much more fruitful (James 4:7)?
We’re a fearful culture. We exclude, discriminate, segregate, judge, restrict, and divide. We live from fear. We are slow to learn and resist change. We refuse to gently and lovingly engage when we see or hear private wrongdoing; we step away because, “it’s not my concern.” Yet we’re quick to indiscriminately judge whole groups, deciding they are greater sinners than we. We’re caterpillars who inch along, give our Sundays to God, but refuse to surrender pieces of our private lives the rest of the week for the gift of grace and love that comes with yielding all.
There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love. We love, because He first loved us. 1 John 4:18-19
We’re an impatient culture. We suspire when we stand in line. We honk horns when we drive. We search out the shortest grocery queue. We want fast food, fast downloads, fast conversations and no interruptions. We want what we want and we want it now. We pray, and assume our prayers go unanswered if we don’t immediately receive a job, a house, a spouse, a cure, a resolution. If tragedy occurs, we run from God instead of toward Him, accusing Him of not caring. We struggle inside our chrysalis, refusing to acknowledge the wait is a journey, the silence a respite for metamorphosis, redemption. We agonize and thrash to escape before our intended time.
Yet those who wait for the Lord Will gain new strength; they will mount up with wings like eagles; they will run and not get tired; they will walk and not become weary. Isaiah 40:31
We’re a changing culture. As we investigate God’s word for ourselves and assimilate its meaning – not just listen to what other people tell us it means – our eyes and ears begin to open. Our hearts are blessed by hope and filled to overflowing by His mercy, grace and love. We are enabled by the Spirit to bless others who we recognize as His creation. We suddenly have a core grasp of what loving God and loving our neighbor means. He has released the butterfly in us, and we are transformed. We live our lives from abiding in love.
“Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” Matthew 11:29-30