Sunday, June 8, 2014

Fight for peace



"strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord."  Hebrews 12:14
When was the last time you "strove" for anything?

strive
strīv/
verb
  1. make great efforts to achieve or obtain something.
    "national movements were striving for independence"
    • struggle or fight vigorously.
      "scholars must strive against bias"
      synonyms:try (hard), attemptendeavoraimventure, make an effort, exert oneself,do one's best, do all one can, do one's utmost, laborworkMore

       
    • Modern people don't "strive", we stroll, we amble, we mosey along(when did you last use the word "mosey"?). We live distracted by smart phone updates, notifications, and "yeah, LOL" messages. Strive? What's that?


"Struggle or fight vigorously" for peace with everyone. I know you don't have a problem with everyone, you only have a problem with ____________ . Everyone means ____________. The rest of the people included in "everyone" are okay with you, but you and __________ have a problem. So guess what? God wants you to "struggle or fight vigorously" to make peace with __________.  "Everyone" here means that one person or few person that you have a problem with. 

Please do not use "strive" to describe the meagre and lame efforts you have made so far. Maybe you are that one in a hundred who has really striven to make things right, but it is far more likely that you are among the 99 who have written an email, or asked a friend to talk to _________ for you, or who have "left the door open" for reconciliation. Can you describe your efforts so far as "struggle or fight vigorously"? This morning I watched the NBC Nightly News on TVB and Tom Brokaw interviewed a 90+ year old veteran of the Normandy landing. He was part of a 9 man squad and everyone else in his squad died on the beach along with 4400 other allied soldiers. He was lying on the sand face down when he heard an officer shout "there are only 2 kinds of people on this beach. Those who are dead, and those who will soon be dead." The soldier got up and ran towards the enemy positions and survived. That is striving. You and I have probably not yet "striven", really striven. 

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Personally, I don't like the word "strive". I want peace and holiness by osmosis. I want to sit in church and soak. I want to relax and let things happen. Striving sounds like a lot of work and effort. I want God to do everything, like a self driving Google car, just take me there. Ephesians says "work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, knowing that God is at work within you both to do and to will his good pleasure." I need to strive and struggle, but God is working in me to give me the "want to" and the "ability" to do so. I strive and struggle relying on him, using his power and strength, and with him giving me the "want to". So, if I don't have the "want to", should I sit around and wait for God to give me the "want to"? NO! Just obey, strive and struggle and somewhere in the midst of your struggle you will sense God's hand on yours guiding you in what to do and say, empowering your limp hands when you feel ready to give up. 

So, who do you need to talk to? ____________________ When are you going to do it? What are you going to do when they turn you down the first time? Striving isn't a one time thing.