His Agenda and Peace
I have been noticing how many of us (myself included) can be easily lured into an investment in some sort of control struggle! We start out being "after" some goal or agenda that is good and -- at least in our own eyes -- for everyone's benefit . . . and then get locked into a battle, and forget the "good" goal, and focus on getting our own way. Those who oppose us become "evil" and our fight against them becomes "just". Yikes!
For me, it is much easier to recognize this dynamic when it is someone else who has labeled me as "evil" and who is willing to treat me as a non-person who is in the way of their "good" agenda . . . but I do see that I do the same thing. It just takes me longer to recognize, and I am less comfortable than some with labeling anyone anything negative. But make me mad . . . . and suddenly you are obviously deluded or deranged in some way and I need to win that battle. (You never do that, do you?)
But God has His own agendas, and He will accomplish them without labeling any of us and without any manipulating or control struggles. He knows where He has drawn lines of responsibility and authority, and He knows how He has "made things work"!
And He can even bring peace and joy to us, and resolve our major and minor control struggles! And He will!
He calls upon us to forgive each other. That requires us to drop labels we create for each other and treat one another as real persons and not as objects in a strategy game.
He calls upon us to listen to each other, and to practice real love and affection for each other.
He calls upon us to consider our walk together as more important than individual accomplishment of plans and goals, or even than corporate accomplishment of plans and goals!
If (as Jim Birchfield recently preached) spiritual power is synonymous with real agape love, then we must be more conscious of being loving than of any other goal if we want to be "on God's side".
And the more we stay "on God's side" in that sense (as opposed to being "right" or "pure" or "just" to be "on God's side") the more we are useful to Him in accomplishing real change in each of us and in our community of faith and in the world!
And the more we practice the real power of that real agape love, the more we find that we have peaceful, joyful lives!
Our God is indeed "mighty to save"!