The antidote for chaos is peace. The hope for unknown is security. The cry of the Church is “Both, please; in Jesus’s name, and in overflowing measure!”
We’ve got a problem. In love, please allow me to divulge:
In a world abounding with wars and rumors of wars, amplified health concerns, and a wildfire spreading of fear and hate, it’s understandable that peace and security capture our attentions and resound in our heart cries.
But, our faith is out of focus if peace and security are our delight.
Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. – Matthew 10:34 ESV
Jesus’s words seem counter-intuitive. Isn’t He the Prince of Peace, and therefore the One ushering our attentions toward peace, and the ideal securities found in unity and love? Well, here’s the thing: our Prince of Peace still swings a sword—the Sword of the Spirit, the Word of God (Ephesians 6:17). Indeed, He is the Sword, being Himself also the Word (John 1:1).
For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. – Hebrews 4:12 ESV
We have peace with God and within our spirit because of our Prince of Peace, but His way-making doesn’t nullify conflict with the world and the things of the world. He pierces. He judges. He divides.
Somewhere along the way we’ve forgotten what it means for Jesus to be our Sword, blanketing evil with peace instead of shattering it with unashamed, decisive division.
Instead of worshiping the One who brought us out of darkness and into His marvelous light (1 Peter 2:9), the modern church has chosen to worship the appropriation of peace toward those still in darkness—still indulging the darkness—in the name of God and His love. But, the further we step from wielding the Truth of God’s Word, the more the world chokes us despite our good intentions. We are no longer fruitful. We are no longer salt. Security beckons us as peace eludes us. The cycle continues like a tornado of chaotic longing, and our faith is diminished to foggy flailing when victorious clarity has been promised.
When Paul talks about peace and security relative to the end times (which we are living in), he likens them to the focus of those asleep, or in darkness. And, I fear this is the state of many today: fading into a choke-hold of deceit, nearly unconscious, having forsaken their Sword. But watch out!
While people are saying, “There is peace and security,” then sudden destruction will come upon them as labor pains come upon a pregnant woman, and they will not escape. But you are not in darkness, brothers, for that day to surprise you like a thief. For you are all children of light, children of the day. We are not of the night or of the darkness. So then let us not sleep, as others do, but let us keep awake and be sober. – 1 Thessalonians 5:3-6 ESV
To be awake and sober is to be effective and fruitful for the Kingdom of God. What good is salt if it looses it’s saltiness? What’s so amazing about grace if we’re still wrapped up in falsehood?
Any peace apart from truth is false peace. It’s deceptive, albeit alluring.
Any security apart from our blessed hope is false security. It’s choking, albeit tantalizing.
Besides this you know the time, that the hour has come for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed. The night is far gone; the day is at hand. So then let us cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light. – Romans 13:11-12 ESV
The call is clear. Arise, Salt! Arise, Light! Worship God in spirit and truth (John 4:24), and be free.