My heart weighs heavy with the continued violence in America and around the world. Hords of people gather together surrounding themselves with teachers that tell them what they want to hear. There is a struggle going on. People are saying statements based on their feelings and few are using reason, logic or seeking to understand. You can feel the tension rising as feelings of fear, distrust and hate grow. Divisions are happening in the nation and communities and I am sure even in families. Something is wrong. This world is broken and even with man's (mankind) best efforts it cannot be fixed. Why is this happening? Why are our best efforts falling short?
This is an age old battle, "For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places." (Ephesians 6:12 NASB). We need to acknowledge that there is actually a battle going on for each of our souls. Satan is a liar and a deceiver about everything and we need to be aware of his schemes. John 10:10 says, that "The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy;" yet Jesus says, "I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly." Contrast the two "comings" - Satan comes to cause destruction and death. Jesus came to offer an abundant life. It would seem like a logical choice for us to choose life through Christ, yet there is more to this equation; we are ALL SINNERS.
"For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,..." This is true by nature as passed down the generations since the fall in the garden (when Satan deceived Adam and Eve) and it is also true by deed - things we have done, things we have left undone, by our words and our silences, and by the deepest intentions and desires in our sinful hearts. We have been deceived by the strategies of Satan, but it is also the inclination of our own heart to lean in the direction of disobedience - trying to breakaway from God so that we can rule our own lives and so that we can be the one who decides what is just, fair and righteous - ourselves.
Yes there is an external battle in this world and we see it through our relationships individually but also communally. But there is also a battle going on in us as well. Romans 7:14-25 speaks about this conflict within us of the two natures - one of our sinful nature and secondly of our new nature that is found only through faith in Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit.
Only Jesus can make things new. Seek life. Seek Jesus.
Only then will we find peace. Only then will we able to help others find peace and reconciliation too.
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