Shalom, More Than Alright

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“Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you:  not as the world gives, give I unto you.  Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”  John 14:27

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I couldn’t help be thinking about the shalom You had me start thinking about the other day, Lord.  I’ve been thinking about it ever since then.  I thought about it yesterday morning and wrote about it.  Only that glitch in the computer came and took away all the written thoughts again.  But You had already left me with Your shalom so I just figured You had a reason and that loosing what I had already almost finished had a purpose.  So it just gave me more time to dwell on Your shalom.  And no matter what, I have forever to dwell in Your shalom!

Because it’s not just important to think about Your shalom.  Everything counts on my living in Your shalom.  I need to not just know about it and not just acknowledge it as a truth, but I need to “actuallize” it.  I need to live in the reality of everything Your shalom means for me.  Because this “peace” isn’t just a feeling that everything will be alright.  This peace is my “alrightness” but it’s my so much more too.

So sometimes I don’t have accurate words to express myself.  I’m not so sure that any of us really do sometimes.  I mean, when it comes to You, sometimes the experience is hard to really explain because it’s of You and You are so much more than everything we are used to.  Maybe that’s why Paul is considered difficult to understand even by other apostles.  Maybe it wasn’t just his learning, but the fact that it was hard for him to put it all in understandable words.  I think sometimes that getting a spiritual truth means sometimes just getting it.  It doesn’t necessarily mean we understand anything about it, but we know, experience, and get it.

Maybe that’s why yesterday’s thoughts disappeared into the air or where ever lost words go in the mind of a computer.  But the important thing is, even if I don’t understand it totally, I can still get it.  I like the way God’s Word translation puts John 14:27.  “I’m leaving you peace.  I’m giving you my peace.  I don’t give you the kind of peace that the world gives.  So don’t be troubled or cowardly.”   Today I’m going to start from the middle of that verse.  “I don’t give you the kind of peace that the world gives.”  Whatever the world gives, no matter what it is, how does it give things?  That’s easy.  Temporary.  “The world and everything in it that people desire is passing away;  but those who do the will of God live forever.”  (1 John 2:17)

So, if all the world has to give and all we have to naturally give each other is temporary, what about You, Lord?  How do You give peace differently than the world?  That’s easy.  What You give is absolutely the opposite of how the world gives.  You give eternally.  And, You give of Yourself.  It’s like the world gives and takes away.  But You, Lord, leave Your shalom so that what You left with us, in us, remains.  How long does it remain in us?  Forever!

Remember that we are talking shalom here.  We are talking You giving us of all that is You.  This is You holding us and all things together.  This is Your assurance.  This is rest, peace, strength, well being in every respect, comfort, protection, power, salvation, sanctification.  This is everything from You and everything that is You.  You left it all in me so that it would remain and work in me forever!

This leaving has to do with the work You are finishing in me as well as the work You started in me.  It has to do with the work You prepared to do in me even before I ever realized my need for You.  Because this “leaving” is often used in the sense of remittance of sin.  It implies taking away, separation, forgiveness, and being set free.  This is part of the wonder of the peace that You leave in us, of that shalom that is Yours and given directly to us and for us.  

It starts with the way You send things away or enable us to let go of things that are contrary to You, like even my sin nature.  And none of it happened by accident.  You deliberately chose to do this in my life and each life that surrenders to You.  You send everything away that would hinder my reception of Your shalom.  You enable me to let it all go.  So a question arises in my mind here.  If You deliberately sent it all away so that I would be filled and empowered in Your shalom, have I deliberately responded by purposefully letting go of those things or attitudes I need to?  If You did not neglect anything in me, if You did not neglect all the actions it took to impart this shalom to me, am I neglecting or being inattentive and disinterested in any areas of devotion and obedience to You in my life?  Because I wonder if I can realize the reality of Your shalom You have imparted to me, if I don’t act upon it?

You didn’t just leave it without action on Your part.  You went to the cross and beyond.  You left Your Holy Spirit as the deposit.  If You had to leave things behind to leave Your shalom, what of me?  What must I leave behind to receive the fulness of Your deposit?  Because if I don’t leave certain things behind and unattach myself from them, I run a good chance of being in danger of leaving something else behind.  Revelation 2:4 is my warning.  “But I have this against you, that you have left your first love.”  Skip Moen says “To understand the gravity of this word, consider the fact that it is also used by Jesus to describe forgiving sin, pardoning our inequities and removing the penalty.  God lets go and sends away the consequences of our rebellion against Him.  It is deliberate, decisive action.  God never leaves His first love.  But we are certainly inclined to do so.”  Or is it that often, we have not even realized the magnitude of our First Love?  Because if we really saw and experienced the magnitude of Your love for us, how could we not leave everything behind for You?

In Your shalom, You became personally involved with us.  But Your personal involvement with us always has God’s will at the core.  It’s like the time You decided to take a detour through Samaria.  It seemed pretty insignificant.  The Pharisees were trying to argue with You.  You deliberately kept Your eyes on the path that God had for You which was not getting distracted by arguments.   So, it seems You just arbitrarily left Judaea and departed again into Galilee and decided to travel via Samaria.  Only no “good” Jew would do that!  You deliberately left so You could continue to do Your Father’s will.  You deliberately determined to keep Your entire focus on God.  How did You do that?  You turned Your back on the “distractors” and walked away, or walked on into God’s purpose.  This is what shalom looks like.  It doesn’t look like the peace that the world gives.  Your shalom is way different.  And this is what You are doing in me.  

You didn’t pay attention to the perceptions of men.  What they thought of You didn’t matter.  You were busy thinking about the thoughts of One toward You and Your thoughts toward Him alone.  Every day You let things go because they weren’t part of God’s plan for You at that moment.  This is walking in shalom, Your shalom, the shalom of God.  And how much I need to apply this in my own life.  How many things are there daily, moment by moment even, that I need to be sensitive to You about, and choose to let go of and walk away from?  Lord teach me in You, moment by moment.  Let me understand what I am called to do each moment.  

Your shalom kept You from being concerned or paying attention to the circumstances, criticisms, demands around You.  Your shalom kept You focussed on God’s plan for You.  I am desperate for Your shalom to work that same work in me.  I want to determine purposefully to allow Your shalom to guide and direct my actions and thoughts no matter what is going on around me.

You layed this foundation of Your shalom in the heart of every believer.  It’s foundation rests upon Your perfect forgiveness and letting go on our behalf.  This is where Your shalom began, but it doesn’t just stay there.  This is a shalom that grows and encompasses more and more of who I am as I grow into it, as I grow into You.  I am called past forgiveness.  I am called into Christ-like-ness.  I am called into FULL relationship.  Just as You walked in the shalom of the Father, You have taken me beyond forgiveness and into Your shalom that I may walk just as You walked.  I may respond as You respond.  Because You are not just Jesus of yesterday.  You are Jesus of today and of my tomorrow.  You are my shalom.  

Peter thought about this shalom.  I think it meant and still means everything to our walk as believers.  He encouraged believers with these words, “May grace and peace be yours in full measure through your knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.  God’s divine power has given us EVERYTHING we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of the One who called us to share in His own glory and goodness.” Yes, this is shalom!  But shalom takes diligence.  Shalom takes purposeful choices.  I must choose Your way.  I must continually remember my First Love and choose to follow in His shalom.  

Lord, bring Your shalom continually to be in me.  I want to sow the fruit of Your righteousness in peace, in continual shalom in You.  But You tell me in James 3:18 that it is only sown by those that make peace in the first place.  That’s that word for “making” that I love.  The one where You have changed me and placed inside of me everything I need to flow with that creative ability to obey You in every circumstance.  May I be so focussed on fulfilling Your will in my life, that I deliberately respond in the power of Your shalom in the circumstances that I am confronted with moment by moment.  Keep me ever mindful of my need to put everything, absolutely everything, from the tiniest statement no matter how sarcastic, to the largest tragedy, into Your perspective.  And teach me to respond to God’s will and not to my circumstances.  You have given me Your ability to do that.  You have given me Your shalom forever.  Now let me live in it as I live in You.

 

 

 

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