Thursday, February 19, 2009

Peaceful Striving

Strive for peace with everyone...
See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God;
that no root of bitterness" springs up and causes trouble...

Hebrews 12:14-15

Even with the briefest of glances one can see that the world isn’t pursuing peace. Newspaper columns and Internet sites bulge with stories illustrating the difficulty of finding peaceful solutions. While peaceful ideas abound we remain in an unpeaceful mess. Finding ourselves surrounded by battles at home, church, neighborhoods and countries we wonder is it possible to find peace in a world that ricochets from battle to battle?

The world of the Hebrew writer, written around A.D. 68, was fraught with turmoil, unrest, discontent, jealousy and vindictiveness. It appears that human nature has endured through the centuries! If this is the case, is there any hope for us, as 21st century Jesus followers? Absolutely!

Strive for peace with everyone. It’s not a suggestion but a command implying that the goal is attainable. Human nature, or that uncomfortable word, sin, causes us to fall short. Too often the natural instinct is not peace striving but defensive strategizing!

Perhaps there’s been a negative word said or the appropriate appreciation wasn’t given. Maybe a neighbor was nosy or a spouse cheated. When we perceive an injustice we can quickly become strategists for our defense. And we don’t stop with just the battle. Having conquered our enemy we continue tilling the soil planting the root of bitterness in order to remember how we were wronged.

Striving for peace with everyone seems impossible. Nevertheless, the striving indicates movement and like a regular routine of exercise a conscious choice of peaceful striving is required. The results initially aren’t always apparent but soon our spiritual muscles are strengthened and we will find that our impossible has become God’s possible.

Jesus, you lived a life of peaceful striving.
Help me to live each day in the same manner.

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