Jesus is the answer, we hear.
How is Jesus the answer when that familiar quarrel come around again?
How is Jesus the answer when the bottom falls out of the big project at work?
How is Jesus the answer when a difficult child disrupts the foundation of your family life?
The question is not one of knowledge, but of APPLICATION. But we can’t admit that, can we? We can’t let fellow believers know that we haven’t figured out how to APPLY the only true answer. So we carry on, wondering, frustrated, disappointed, and living in the shadow of the passionate life that Jesus offers but we have rarely experienced.
There is good news! Read these words of Jesus from Matthew 11:28-30: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
The One whom we know to be the Answer offers us an invitation. “Learn from me.”
The mission of the church is not to drag people into buildings or to run raffles or issue statements. The mission of the church is to be for the world what Jesus was for Israel–a mission that will send us back to the four gospels again and again, not only to be amazed by the power and love of God but to draw down that power and love, through prayer and the Holy Spirit, so that we can be Jesus’ people for the world.
Colossians 3:21, “Fathers, do not embitter your children, or they will become discouraged.”
Tough verse to live up to sometimes. I know I’ve sometimes embittered my children because of my own selfishness, not because I was doing what was best for them. No one wants to be a “discourager” but rather an “encourager.” Older translations say, “exasperate your children or they may lose heart.” So when we frustrate our children to the point of bitterness then we are not being wise, loving parents. We need to learn to walk the line of love and truth, challenge and acceptance.
The call of the Gospel is for the Church to IMPLEMENT the victory of God in the world. The cross is not just an example to be followed; it is an achievement to be worked out, put into practice. It is the start of the process of redemption in which suffering and martyrdom are the paradoxical means by which a victory is won. The suffering love of God, lived out again and again by the Spirit in the lives of God’s people, is the God-given answer to the evils of the world
But what if the people who now bear the solution becomes themselves part of the problem, as happened before? Yes that is a danger. In particular, it is a problem when Christians seek to impose its will on the world by labelling other parts of the world evil while seeing itself as the avenging army of God.