Tuesday, January 26, 2010

In Other Words--Division or Peace


Do not suppose that I have come to bring
peace to the earth.
I did not come to bring peace,
but a sword.

~ Matthew 10:34~

I've been dwelling on this verse, trying to decide what it is I needed to say. Honestly, my desire was to just skip writing this week. But one of my commitments is to not avoid the week's that are straight out of the Word of God. So, in other words, I needed something to say.

We started school work and I caught out of the corner of my eye a couple walking through the neighbourhood. "*Ugh*" I thought, I'll need to send them on their way. But that little voice that so often interrupts my plans impressed on me to just talk a few minutes. In fact, the few minutes became quite a few minutes. They wanted to talk about the role of governments and the need for us to not even vote because God's government will crush all the governments of the world... I spoke my mind, they spoke theirs. They quoted a few carefully chosen proof-texted verses at me and I quote a few carefully chosen proof-texted verses back. It was actually a very interesting discussion. But at the end, when they made a more directed move to "enlighten" me on why I was wrong I told them "we need to agree to disagree." That was not good enough for the gentleman so the question was asked if they were going to change their minds with anything I said. "Of course not!" came the emphatic answer. I then indicated that they were not going to change my mind either so we needed to "agree to disagree." Pleasantries were exchanged and they left.

Afterwards I spoke with Jewel that sometimes people have different interpretations of the Scripture and we have to be true to what we believe God is telling us in the Scripture. She was confused at how we could talk so nicely and say things that were mostly alike, but "disagree." I explained that in the bigger picture of what those people believed about the Bible and Jesus there were things that are very different from how I believe. We talked about how God will separate those who believe from those who don't believe and how our goal each day should be to know Him more and do what He leads us to do. She asked how we would know that what we believed was right and I told her that God gave us contentment in what He said. (remember she is only 7, so this is simplified!) She was satisfied and we finished schoolwork.

"That's the message---God will separate," whispered in my heart. This verse is not about Jesus crushing the government with a physical sword or disrupting governmental peace. It is about the separation that He makes in the Kingdom. It is about how our priorities and our beliefs will divide us from even those that are close to us (see verses 35-37). When we take on the name of Christ we are standing on one side of a dividing line. The line may look imaginary, but it is real. It is a division of ideology, of priority, of time and of resources. The division will cause some around us to be uncomfortable. It may even make some angry. Others may become distant. We may lose "peace" with those around us who do not share a love or a belief in Jesus.

That is not to say that we should be throw up our hands and say that our lives will be full of conflict. Not at all. Although there may be division, there is also a different kind of peace.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable-if anything is excellent or praiseworthy-think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me-put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.
~Philippians 4:6-9~
From where does our peace come? From leaning on God, from seeking His will and from putting His directives into action. Yes, there will be division. But we need to leave that up to God. Lean on Him, and then we will find a deeper peace.

Are you feeling the pain of division? Do you feel separation more than peace? Struggling to know where to turn? Turn to God. Lean on Him. Allow him to pour his peace into your life.

Today's hostess is Esthermay at The Heart of a Pastor's Wife. Please visit the incredible ladies writing on this verse. I know that you will be blessed.


Karen said...

Thanks for sharing today what you said was really good. God has His purposes and bringing the sword to separate things out was one of them. Have a great day!

Nic said...

Great words, my friend! I especially like the verse used to tie in the effects of what we can feel when we are caught in the conflict between the Gospel and the anger of someone who doesn't like being confronted with the Truth. God is letting us know that even in the midst of the turmoil, He will be there to bring us peace.

Denise Hughes said...

I loved your post here! It's so interesting that I chose the same passage from Philippians to close too. Yes, the sword does indeed separate, divide. But not necessarily in a military sense, but rather, those who choose to follow Him will be set apart. Inevitably, that may cause a rift in human relationships, but we are kept on this earth to reach out to others with Christ's love, especially the ones who disagree. Thanks for sharing today.

Denise :)

Tami Boesiger said...

I can feel the pain you've had from division, MiPa. May God continue to heal you and keep you focused on Him. Love you.

Esthermay said...

Interesting and pertinent real-life application that you share. Some divisions are trivial and for those, "agreeing to disagree" is easy. When we see that the division is really a matter of someone refusing to see the TRUTH of God's WORD and HIS Gospel of SALVATION --- well, then that's when our hearts can break over the "division." {I think this is the "division" that Jesus refers to as a "sword."}

What a lesson we can learn from everyone's 'take' on this passage today.


shopannies said...

it is so different how we can all find meaning in his word. I love to open up the bible and read as it seems as if it always has something to say about my life for the day

e-Mom said...

This is a challenging verse-- especially to women. How we hate conflict! I'm glad you posted, despite your hesitations.

The Scriptures are clear... we will face conflict for our Christian beliefs. Jesus himself talks about separating "sheep from goats." And the "Sword of the Spirit" is the Word of God.

I was reminded to "put on the full armor of God" the other day. We're in a spiritual battle, and we must be prepared. When we've done all to gird ourselves for warfare, then we must "stand." Sounds like you held your own quite well with this couple! Good job my friend.

Blessings, e-Mom :~D