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Post By: Danny
Has your sin made you feel distant from God? When you fall back into unhealthy attitudes and addiction, does the shame overwhelm you and compromise your peace? How do we maintain peace in the midst of a fallen body still prone to wander and act out in sin?
One of the biggest disruptors and vandalizers of Shalom in our lives is guilt, and its cousin shame is close behind. The enemy of our soul, who has been trying to compromise our dignity and dominion from the beginning, utilizes guilt and shame to bring our souls back into a state of chaos and confusion in regards to our relationship and standing with God. Here’s his scheme, which we need to understand if we are going to take a stand against it (Ephesians 6:11).
Is your home a house of peace? Is it a place of hospitality to the nations? To strangers? What would it look like to display the hospitality of the City of Peace in your home? At your work? Through your church? During your mealtimes?
One thing we know for a fact is that the family of God is a family of radical hospitality toward outsiders. We were cut off from the kingdom, outside its walls, distant from God, yet in Christ we are welcomed into the Holy of Holies, the inner chamber of God’s most intimate presence, to share a feast with the God of the universe. We are included in the family of God, no longer strangers but family members with access to the full benefits of the household of faith. God has been hospitable to us and invited us into His home. His hospitality toward us at His table is conforming us more into the image of Christ and awakening in us a similar Spirit of hospitality toward all peoples. Intimacy with God always leads to deeper intimacy with others, and as we experience the hospitality of the kingdom found in the love of Christ, that same love compels us into deeper hospitality toward others.
Have you ever felt like God is asking too much of you and the work He has called you to is more than you can do? How can you find rest in the midst of a mission that seems impossible?
“Let me teach you how to rest…” Jesus speaks with gentleness to the weary soul working hard for the kingdom. Being on mission in full surrender to the kingdom is supposed to be the most rewarding calling, but if we are not careful about our motives, it can become the most exhausting calling. God never intended for the labor in His kingdom to drive us so hard we can barely function and we lose joy and forget the “why” behind our work. Yes, God did promise that if we live the life of a “Shalomer” and “spend ourselves” on behalf of the broken and hurting in the world as we preach the full gospel in word and deed we would get persecuted (2 Timothy 3:12). But He also promised He would “guide us continually, giving us water when we are dry and restoring our strength. We will be like a well-watered garden, like an ever-flowing spring” (Isaiah 58:11). He promises rest as He lays our head down in fields of splendor and restores our souls in the midst of the valley of the shadow of death… (Psalm 23)
If “sentness” is built into your new identity as a Child of God, then if you don’t “go” as an agent of Shalom of God to the world, you are not living out your identity and are missing out on the best God has for you.
Author Allen Hirsch said: “Every Christian is a sent one. There is no such thing as an unsent Christian.” One of the greatest joys of being a Christian is that Christ has chosen to include us in His mission of reconciliation and renewal in this broken world. He saved us so He could send us, and in our sent-ness, we realize even more the extent of our saved-ness. We are a part of the family of God and also part of the “Family Business” – the renewal of all things for the sake of God’s glory and humanity’s flourishing. God is in the business of Shaloming the hell out of the world and He invites His kids to be a part of this mission. We have been sent out as harvesters in this great field of souls, participating with the Holy Spirit in sowing seeds of salvation into the ready soil of lives longing for Shalom and hungry for the redemption, reconciliation, and renewal promised in the gospel (Matthew 13:1-9; Luke 10:1-12).
Have you ever felt like someone was just loving you in order to get something from you? Have you ever used love to try and get something from someone else? How does God love us and how does He ask us to love Him and others?
Real love… That is the only thing that can produce real Shalom in your life and in your community. There’s “fake shalom” everywhere because there’s fake love everywhere. How do you know if it’s fake love or real? You know it’s real love if it’s free love. That means it’s love that costs you nothing… love that doesn’t have strings attached to it. Love that isn’t codependent on you doing something, or paying something…
A sacrifice is not a sacrifice unless it is a sacrifice. How does the sacrifice of Jesus for us lead toward radical generosity toward others in the body?
Because He Loves us, God radically shares with us until all our needs are met. The more we believe and rest in this reality the more we love and sacrificially share with others in need. This is the simple gospel that is turning the world upside down as it is believed and lived out with a heart of love. In the early church, we see God’s people joyfully contributing and experiencing such a community. People who were blessed with the world’s goods shared with those in need through their local house church where they shared life, worshipped, fellowshipped, ate, prayed and heard the gospel proclaimed and applied to their hearts (Acts 2:42-47; 4:32-37). It says “there was not a needy person among them.” How is that possible? How could a person be so compelled to give up their own individual “flourishing” for the sake of the whole not having a need?
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Why does it seem that the rich of the world are favored over the poor? How does God feel about that? What did Jesus and His followers teach about being poor?
Jesus said that the blessing of the Kingdom of God is for the poor (Matthew 5:3; Luke 6:20). What does that even mean? Does it mean that God can only accept poor people into His Kingdom? That’s exactly what it means! Is that offensive to you? Does the idea of God choosing those who are poor in this world to be rich in faith and inherit the kingdom rub you the wrong way? It actually should, because it is counterintuitive to our thinking that the systems of this world have brainwashed us to believe. The systems of the world tell us the “rich, fixed and socialized” are the “chosen ones” and the elite and exceptional ones we all should aspire to. They have the education, the power, and the resources so they must be favored of “the gods.” They must be “blessed” as they flaunt their successes, power and wealth. Since society worships them as the height of human achievement, surely God favors them as well!