peaceonearth9x16jpg_lg

Merry Christmas!! Finishing what I started yesterday…
He shall judge between the nations, and shall decide disputes for many peoples; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore. The prophetic word from Isaiah, the great prophet of Messiah. Isaiah can see the time coming when swords will be turned into plowshares, spears into pruning hooks. In other words, weapons will be turned into tools of agriculture. It would be like us turning tanks into tractors, missile silos into grain silos.

Chinook Helicopter
So the question remains, do we see the world as a battleground, where our weapons must always be ready at a moments notice? Or is it a Garden, calling out and begging for loving care and nourishment? Is the world fundamentally a dangerous place, or is the world fundamentally the recipient of God’s grace and loving mercy?
Isaiah sees the world better than it is. He sees that God is going to act in Jerusalem to change the world. He doesn’t know when it will happen, but he knows it will be big, and after God acts nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore. Isaiah sees a world where weapons are turned into agricultural tools, a world where people choose to walk in the light of the lord and learn war no more.
For us, Christ has come. It’s time to walk in the light of the Lord and study war no more. War is over. We have to choose to walk in the light of the lord, and if we do, there will be war no more.

Light-of-the-World.jpg
O house of Jacob, come, let us walk in the light of the Lord. The invitation of Christ. The invitation to walk in the light of the Lord. Whether the rest of the world walks in the light, we who say Merry Christmas MUST walk in that light. We don’t get to wait to walk in the light when Jesus comes the second time. If we confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, we must walk in the light of the Lord right now, and learn war no more.
I’m going to stay away from talking world peace and the warring nations in the world today. I’m not going to talk about the warring nations of the world, I’m going to talk about you and me. Let’s talk about our own personal wars. Let’s talk about our wars with family, friends and coworkers. Our political wars, our Facebook wars. In these wars, it’s time to turn our words that cut like a sword into words that cultivate love, respect, and friendship.

The apostle James says this – “What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you?” James‬ ‭4:1‬ ‭ESV. Passions here can also be translated “evil desires”. War is not born somewhere “out there“. War is born right inside each and every one of us. Wars come from the evil desires and passions within us. We have war out there because we have evil desires within us.

war-in-heart
We have war in the world because we have war in our heart. We have war in our heart because we have evil desires. We don’t think we have evil desires, we just think we are right. Nobody who goes to war, on Facebook or a literal war with guns and tanks, never think they are unleashing their evil desires. We just think we are right. But wrap your head around this one – thinking you’re right is the evil desire. More specifically, the desire to be right at all costs is the evil desire.

tree-of-knowledge-of-good-and-evil
This is introduced very early in the Bible. The original sin has to with prioritizing the desire to be right. We want the knowledge to judge, to know good and evil, we want to be right all the time. Adam and Eve ate from the tree of knowledge, wanting to be right all the time. Before you know it – their kids are killing each other.
The promise was – you will be like God. You will be wise. You will be right! ““God knows that your eyes will be opened as soon as you eat it, and you will be like God, knowing both good and evil.” The woman was convinced. She saw that the tree was beautiful and its fruit looked delicious, and she wanted the wisdom it would give her. So she took some of the fruit and ate it. Then she gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it, too.” Genesis‬ ‭3:5-6‬ ‭NLT‬‬. Tasted good! Before you know it, Cain is killing Abel, and it only gets worse from there.
War is the offspring of prioritizing being right over being in relationship. Adam and Eve ate from the wrong tree. They ate from the “being right” tree. The priority should have been being in relationship, with God and each other. But being right was more important than being in relationship.

im-right
Jesus was right. But Jesus didn’t go to war to defend being right. People go to war because of the evil desire of being right. We all think we are in the right. But we know at least half of us can’t be right, we are deceived.

right-and-wrong
Jesus chose relationship over being right. You have to forgive to stay in relationship. In every relationship, at some point, something will happen where you believe you are right and being wronged. You might be right, or you might be deceived. It doesn’t matter for you. It happens in every relationship of any significance. From your view, you are in the right. If that’s what is important to you, if you chose to be right and go to war, your evil desire is winning out. The desire to be right above all else is what leads to war.
If it is more important to be in relationship than be right, you forgive. Jesus chose relationship over being right. When the world was wronging Him, He forgave us. Jesus chooses relationship with us over being right.

cross-bearing
War ends “out there” when it ends inside of each of us. It ends when it ends in our hearts. “Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it.” ‭‭Luke‬ ‭9:23-24‬ ‭NIV‬‬. When we accept Jesus’ terms of discipleship, which are non negotiable, war is over. War is over, because there is nothing to fight for. We expect to lose. We expect to lose our lives, so we can find our true lives. He taught us to walk in the light of the Lord. Jesus taught us His ways. Jesus taught us to value relationship over being right. He taught us to value forgiveness over vengeance. He taught us to value trusting God over fighting for our rights.

banner_jesus

When this happens, war is over. It’s part of the salvation being offered by Jesus Christ. Do you want it?

war-is-over

“”It shall come to pass in the latter days that the mountain of the house of the Lord shall be established as the highest of the mountains, and shall be lifted up above the hills; and all the nations shall flow to it, and many peoples shall come, and say: “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob, that he may teach us his ways and that we may walk in his paths.” For out of Zion shall go the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. He shall judge between the nations, and shall decide disputes for many peoples; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore. O house of Jacob, come, let us walk in the light of the Lord.”

‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭2:2-5‬ ‭ESV‬‬

http://bible.com/59/isa.2.2-5.esv

John Lewis

Advertisements

9 thoughts on “Do You Want It?

  1. N.T. Wright went to Seattle Pacific Univ and gave a series of lectures several years ago now. I am sure I have recordings of them because my dad was able to attend, so he bought them for me. Anyway, that is about as close as I can get to citing my source, but if you are really interested, I might be able to narrow it down further, or you might find it with that much info…

    Anyway, he spoke about art in one of the lectures and Christian artists particularly. It is a field wide open to profound, Christian subversion! In fact, I think of it as PROPHETIC, personally. And he recited a couple of fascinating, contemporary tales of real Christian art that confronts the world on the one hand and “secular” or even Marxist art on the other. And the one that your post really brings back to my mind is the tale of an artist who gathered up decommissioned weapons – mostly machine guns – after the war in Mozambique, melted and twisted and welded and shaped and then constructed a TREE of LIFE out of the guns! Apparently it was featured in The Louvre Museum in Paris.

    Hows that for beating spears into pruning hooks?

    Merry Christmas bro…

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I love NT Wright. I’m going to have to try to figure out that source for your information.

      I love the guns/ammo turned into the tree of life. And I love that it made it into the louvre.

      Art is much more important to Christianity than we want to think. Christianity, rightly understood, is based a truly beautiful forgiveness. A forgiveness that turned a scene of utmost ugliness into a scene of iconic beauty.

      Beauty will save the world – Pastor Brian Zahnd

      Like

  2. My pastor always says the congregation is very quiet when he preaches on forgiveness. Great post! The man on the cross who talked with and recognized Jesus in the final seconds of his life has always been one of my favorite examples to help convey, it is never to late to accept Jesus! Thank you for sharing your walk of faith!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. “Is the world fundamentally a dangerous place, or is the world fundamentally the recipient of God’s grace and loving mercy?” May I submit that it is fundamentally both? We are under the rule of Satan as residents of Earth. Fundamentally dangerous. We live under grace, which isn’t necessary without the former, but still fundamentally in force on earth. I see the danger still present, despite salvation won. Any of us can end up as Judas, because Satan is one crafty adversary.

    Thanks for keeping us thinking and looking to our Saviour and Redeemer! Keep it coming, brother!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That is an interesting way to look at it Jeffrey!! I’ll say something i heard from Ravi Zacharias- until we accept the sacrifice of the Son of God, we will continue to sacrifice our own sons and daughters. Of course Ravi said it much more poignantly and eloquently…but that’s my weak paraphrase. I’d like to think we are moving away from the battleground and toward the garden.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. John, thank you for sharing what the Lord puts on your heart. I am grateful for all the WordPress Christian community that has the opportunity to bring the visions of that Garden to the canvas of our blogs. I see 2017 as a beautiful display of the Lord’s hand on the full tapestry, and pray that He will enable us to see beyond what the enemy is doing here and behold what the Lord has already done and revealing to some for the first time. Through His Word, prayer and worship through the preaching of His Word, He is able to open heaven, His presence and power to His people. A Year for Contentment is His leading for me to see and write about HIs kingdom in power over heaven and earth. His promises through Isaiah must take place in our hearts and lives, as a witness to the world of His kingdom that rules over all. The Lord bless you in this new year. ~ Fran

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s