Phyllis Beveridge Nissila
For this part of the immunities series, I have excerpted the following from a recent post by Colin Markham who blogs at https://fellowshipofstpeter.com in which he discusses The Beatitudes, a frequent theme in his writings, where Jesus elaborates on the “blessedness” of a believer’s walk who purposes to align with Him and grow in the fruit of the spirit (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control).
Consider, for a moment, how this “fruit” is so opposite of what is happening in the world these days, where narcissism rises, rage infuses rhetoric, and men’s hearts do indeed seem to “wax worse”.
The excerpt below specifically addresses a mindset believers will need to remember as the days of trouble continue regarding not only the global pandemic and its economic ramifications but also the general trajectory of a world gone increasingly materialisic and hedonistic. But, then, Jesus warned us:
Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold… (Matthew 24:12, NIV)
And Paul elaborated:
People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3 without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, 4 treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— (2 Timothy 3:2-4)
Temptations will increase to react in frustration and anger because there is much to be frustrated and angry about when we see people in power for whom right is now wrong and wrong, right; where justice, let alone common sense, is rarely served.
It becomes increasingly harder to discern the “still, small voice of the Lord” when darkness spreads like acid, heralding its destructive path with shrieks and shouts aided and abetted by the ubiquitous dings and pings of social media out for clicks, power, and money.
And yet, a believer can find respite even in this…storm.
Peel yourself away from those who “mutter and peep” (i.e., engage in the dark arts) as well as others who shout and shriek (i.e., engage in sociopolitical rage) and consider the following–perhaps in a few moments of rest and refreshment.
The Beatitudes (# 6)–Guest Feature
And exposition and meditation by Colin Markham
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. This Beatitude is about the desire for justice, not necessarily in a juridical sense. It is more about the triumph of right over wrong in the context of Christian charity. The process begins with conversion, a turning-round of the human heart to accept Christ as the Son of God and Saviour of the world. We are to be righteous, in a right relationship with God. This extends to the family and the wider community, not only the Christian community to which the disciple belongs, but outwards in all kinds of ways to the world at large. Works of charity and mercy are an intrinsic part of what it means to be a disciple of Christ.
In the process the disciple should not allow his deeds to stray into the political arena. He must not involve himself in partisan politics. His Master is Christ, who is head of the church. It is Christ he serves, and Him only. We must obey God rather than men (Acts 5.29). Detachment from the world is absolutely essential to Christian life (1 Jn 2.12-17). A Christian lives in the world, but he must not be of the world. To avoid being corrupted by the evil that permeates every avenue of public life, a degree of separation is necessary. A disciple cannot claim to advocate justice in the name of Christ if he is involved in affairs tainted by association with the world. The world is controlled by morally corrupt political systems. Any Christian who is immersed in politics will be required to compromise his Christian convictions. It is the nature of the game. Instead, they are to view politics from the outside. In the interests of justice and peace they are to speak truth to power from a religious standpoint. Christians can engage with the democratic process through the ballot box and by working with or through politicians they can trust. In this way they maintain a counter-cultural voice in the face of evil.
The overwhelming priority of any Christian is to live out the Gospel. Members of a church or other Christian community are to engage in various ministries according to the gift bestowed upon each of them through the Holy Spirit. These include preaching, teaching, leadership, healing and prophecy (see Rom 12.6-8; 1 Cor 12 to 14; Eph 4.11-13; 1 Pet 4.10-11). In this way the body of Christ, the church, is built up and works for the good of its members and of the wider community, every disciple exhibiting Christ-like qualities in a spirit of love and service.
Let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream (Amos 5.24)…read the entire article here.
Image of rom_vatikan_basilika_st._peter_die_taube_des_heiligen_geistes_cathedra_petri_bernini.jpg from Wikimedia Commons.