Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Peace on Fire

I’ve been thinking about the paradox of Jesus for the last couple weeks.

Here is a man of both sorrow and joy, of both peace and anger. And I think that the more we become like him, the more we’ll be filled with those things as well.

And while some people believe that when you start to follow Jesus you get to have joy and peace all the time (Galatians 5:22 says that the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control), not even Jesus experienced happiness and serenity all the time.

Mark 14:33-34 says that when he entered the Garden of Gethsemani, he was “deeply troubled and distressed” and “crushed with grief to the point of death.” That’s not exactly a picture of pure happiness and tranquility. And when he made a whip and drove the loan sharks and swindlers out of the temple area, he wasn’t exhibiting the epitome of gentleness.

And yet, he was always filled with the Spirit. Always.

Jesus was closer to his Father in heaven than anyone else who ever lived. So, I think the closer we get to God, the more we’ll experience life and then process those experiences the way Jesus did. We’ll have more joy than ever before, but also more sorrow--joy because of what God has done, but also sorrow at the things that break the heart of God. We’ll have more serenity and more anger--serenity because of God’s forgiveness, but also anger at the things that enraged Jesus.

The more we grow in faith, the further we enter the fiery paradox of Jesus’s peace.

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