17/09/2016 -Ephesians 2:14 'For he himself is our peace.'
Jesus brings peace because he is peace. He is peace because he is perfectly ‘joined up on the inside’. He embodies ‘shalom.’
He is ‘joined up on the inside’ in two ways. Firstly, he is fully God and fully Man. Because of that he brings God and Man together and this becomes the basis by which he ‘breaks down the wall of hostility’ between people. But there is more to it.
We all have experienced the challenge at some point in our lives of living with someone very different to us. It can produce awful pressure and tension – or the most wonderful and enjoyable harmony. We each have at least two distinct parts to us – as clearly as having two very different people living in the same house. When those two parts experience ‘shalom’ the result is an explosion of love and joy and a strong sense of well-being. But where there are different values and perspectives, accompanied by attitudes that prevent a coming together, there is no joy and peace. And therein lies the issue.
For example, because we all have an introvert, there will be one of our ‘internal residents’ that will always want order. We may not always recognise it but we long for structure and healthy organisation. It may be in the area of our environment – home, office, garden – or in our relationships. We want things resolved, settled and sorted – at least as far as it lies within us to do so. Are we true to who we are? Do we tidy up? Do we settle issues that can be settled? Or do we allow that other, more outgoing, ‘internal resident’ to talk us out of it, rationalise things away and persuade us that fun, activity and distraction are justifiable alternatives to the more exacting demands of our more conscientious, reflective resident?
This is important. If we are not true to ourselves in this way, then we will never live in the peace that is available to us. We might know that the office needs tidying – but responding to the email brings greater short-term emotional rewards. We know we need to set time aside to complete the project but arranging another meeting feeds the busyness addiction. Going for that order will mean sacrificing short-term satisfaction for the discipline of making sure that the proper instincts and values of the introvert are being satisfied. If you were called in to be a mediator between two people at loggerheads with each other you would ensure that the one wishing to pursue good values would be listened to. Then peace prevails. Are you doing that to yourself? Jesus embodies that positive quality of inner togetherness. Walking with him and learning from him will mean that we will listen to, and enjoy living in, the whole of who we are.
On 20/09/2016 Kathryn wrote: Thank you, John. A wake-up call to do those things, tackle those conversations that my 'conscience', my introvert wants me to have, but my extrovert is telling me are potentially uncomfortable & difficult, so I allow myself to be talked out of it by myself.