John 16:33 NASB
“These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.”
If you are seeing and experiencing what I am seeing and experiencing, it seems as though just about every conceivable subject, as it pertains to trusting and walking with God, has different takes or perspectives on it and everyone and their dog has a need to articulate their perspective and shoot down those who see things differently. There are no grey areas anymore, everything seems to be either totally black or totally white, with nothing in between. And of course, if my perception is the white perspective and you disagree with me, then your perspective must obviously be black, or vice versa. We have those in the flesh arguing with those who are born again and we have those who are born again, arguing with those who are born again. It’s terrible.
And the Fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23), you know, those Holy Spirit character traits that born again Christians who are endeavouring to walk in the Spirit are supposed to possess, like love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness and self-control, are in more cases than not, sadly missing. Instead we find far too many instances of Christians justifying anger, intolerance, bitterness, harshness, discord, hair trigger impatience and an abandonment of self-control. What is even more surprising is that often the justification for this behaviour is attributed to the need to “boldly” preach truth to power.
The thing is, which “truth” are we boldly expounding upon?
The “truth” of this fleshly/material world (power equals right) or the Spirit/spirit “truth” of the Gospel of Jesus Christ (God’s righteousness and Spirit equals right), has a distinctive difference. And when we confuse the two or try to blend them together, we consistently run into all kinds of problems, both in our dealings with others and also with ourselves. Do you ever wonder why that is? Consider the following:
Jesus told us that His kingdom is not of this world (fleshly/material)(John 18:36).
Jesus told us that which is born of the flesh is flesh and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit (John 3:6).
Jesus told us that in the world (fleshly/material) we would have tribulation (see John 16:33).
Jesus told us that in Him (Spirit/spirit) we may find His peace (see John 16:33).
Jesus told us to take courage because He had overcome the world (fleshly/material) (see John 16:33).
If we focus on the world (fleshly/material) and not Jesus, we get tribulation with no peace.
If we focus on Jesus (Spirit/spirit) we have His peace, even though we are in the world (fleshly/material) with the tribulation.
When Jesus prayed to our Father He stated that He and us who believe are not of this world (John 17:16-19). Jesus did not pray for the world, He prayed for us.
Why would we focus on the world (fleshly/material) when Jesus has already overcome the world through His death and Resurrection?
We focus on the world because we have collectively not succeeded in fulfilling His Great Commission. We were told to preach the Gospel to the world, not make the world God’s Kingdom, which we can subsequently control.
When Jesus taught us how to pray, He said Your kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth, as it is in heaven (Matthew 6:10). That only happens when we have God’s Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Christ, operating within us, in our spirit, and not in our own strength. That reality is the Kingdom of God.
What follows is my personal opinion and some of you may disagree and I can accept and understand that. I don’t believe there is anything wrong in loving your country of origin, but that love of country, for a Christian, according to how I read the Bible, should be secondary to furthering the Kingdom of God, which is not of this world, via the preaching of the Good News of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. When that priority is reversed and nationalism becomes the prime objective, something is wrong.
Jesus commanded us to love one another. This is not optional. Difficult. You bet it is. Romans 12:18 applies: “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.“
Show me one commandment that says love of country supersedes Christians loving one another. Show me one Scripture that says the Fruit of the Spirit is non-applicable because you’re pissed and you’ve had enough. (Pardon my French). Show me one Scripture that says if you pursue the removal of one abomination, you can ignore the use of the other six in obtaining it. This link refers.
I can’t help thinking that there are an awful lot of us that need to do an awful lot of soul searching.
Worthy is the Lamb! Blessings!