ArticlesPoetry Jul 31, 2015 The Double Danger
Ifeoluwapo Eleyinafe Article by Ifeoluwapo Eleyinafe Creator and author, thinkheaven.com

In which we dis­cov­er the love that cre­ates hate and the peace that dri­ves to war.

Not A Great Es­cape

It would be wrong though to think from ear­li­er dis­cus­sions that a Chris­t­ian lives be­hind walls and some­how must stop in­ter­act­ing with oth­er peo­ple all to­geth­er. This would be to ig­nore that the ma­jor­i­ty of God’s laws are in fact there to com­mand not only in how to in­ter­act but to de­mand that we have have to in­ter­act with peo­ple Lev 19:18, 34, Deut 6:5. You will see in the verse that God com­mands love. For those who fol­low Him, they HAVE to in­ter­act with oth­er peo­ple. How does this work?

Sep­a­rat­ed But In­sep­a­ra­ble

Let us again turn to the cell. We have said that the cell has both an out­side and an in­side. The cell can­not ex­ist with­out the wall that al­lows it to pre­vent its in­sides from spilling out to the out­side. It is the wall that cre­ates the out­side and the in­side. These two crit­i­cal ar­eas (out­side and in­side) de­fine what the cell is go­ing to be. In fact, even though the in­side of the cell is dif­fer­ent from out­side the cell, the in­side of the cell is still in­ti­mate­ly con­nect­ed with the out­side. The rea­son is sim­ple. Both the in­side and the out­side are most­ly made of wa­ter.

Every cell in your body con­tains most­ly wa­ter and is sur­round­ed by most­ly wa­ter. Too much wa­ter in and the cells swell up but too much wa­ter out and the cells shrink up. When the cell shrinks, we say that it has be­come de­hy­drat­ed. De­hy­dra­tion when se­vere enough can lead to death. This in­ti­mate re­la­tion­ship means that the cell needs what is out­side it­self as much as it needs what is in­side it­self. In ad­di­tion to this, the cell is con­stant­ly se­cret­ing wa­ter out­side of it­self into the en­vi­ron­ment even as it takes up wa­ter from its en­vi­ron­ment. Some cells in your liv­er and kid­neys use this prop­er­ty to help re­move poi­sons from your blood and to help se­crete im­por­tant chem­i­cals into your blood. So, so, what does any of this have to do with the Bible?

Re-De­f­i­n­i­tion, Not Ob-Lit­er­a­tion

What is true on the lev­el of the cell is true for hu­man so­ci­ety as a whole. Every per­son has an in­ti­mate con­nec­tion with their in­side and out­side. We are con­nect­ed to our­selves but also every­one around us. This in­ti­mate con­nec­tion be­tween the in­side and the out­side means that no hu­man be­ing can func­tion well for long in the ab­sence of com­mu­ni­ty. In fact, it has been shown that ba­bies that do not ex­pe­ri­ence hu­man stim­u­la­tion are more like­ly to die. Un­less im­pris­oned (and even then), a Chris­t­ian can­not with­draw from oth­er peo­ple as a means of liv­ing. Be­sides be­ing im­pos­si­ble, he will die if he does this. What then is the Chris­t­ian goal if it is not to es­cape the world? God’s goal through His Law and Sac­ri­fice in the Bible is to help us re­de­fine our re­la­tion­ship with Him, with our­selves and with oth­er peo­ple. That is, you first have to have the right wall, the right in­side and the right re­la­tion­ship with the out­side.

The Dou­ble Dan­ger

Our pre­ced­ing dis­cus­sion is about how we should make God our wall. We should make our re­la­tion­ship with Him the fun­da­men­tal thing that de­fines who we are. Every oth­er wall will fail and cause us to lose our­selves. Once we make God our wall by re­lat­ing with Him, how­ev­er, two crit­i­cal things im­me­di­ate­ly hap­pen. 1) Our iden­ti­ty, our in­sides and bound­aries are in­stant­ly re­de­fined. 2) We are in­stant­ly sep­a­rat­ed from from the world around us.

A New Man

1) This new iden­ti­ty through our re­la­tion­ship with God is both a life and a death. It is both a peace and a war. It is mar­riage that pro­duces di­vorce. It is a love that pro­duces hate. It for this rea­son that Je­sus said, we abide alone un­less we die John 12:24 and lat­er re­peats that un­less we take up the cross, we can­not fol­low Him Matt 16:24. He makes it clear that our love for Him can­not ex­ist in the ab­sence of ha­tred Luke 14:26. This means that our old iden­ti­ty based on self-idol­a­try has to die even as our new iden­ti­ty through our re­la­tion­ship with God con­tin­ues to grow.

But this death is not easy and nei­ther is it quick. This is why the Bible says that our flesh wars against our spir­it Gal 5:17. Not only does it hurt to die, but our old and oh so fa­mil­iar ways and iden­ti­ty does not want to die. It’s even hard­er when the world around us is do­ing the things we used to do. It be­comes even more tempt­ing to be the peo­ple we used to be. So against such odds from both the in­side and the out­side, it is im­pos­si­ble to change by one’s own pow­er. We must trust God to ful­fill His promis­es. And He has promised to build us into His tem­ple by the cre­ative Pow­er of His Spir­it Zech 4:6, Joel 2:28, John 1:12.

The Pow­er To Be

This new iden­ti­ty caus­es us to de­clare by our words and ac­tions by the pow­er of the Holy Spir­it that Je­sus is the Lord 1 John 4:2. Now all the laws that once seemed so hard and bur­den­some be­come sud­den­ly very very easy. Now where anger was the an­swer, love thrives. Con­dem­na­tion is re­placed with the em­brace. Where we once sought to gain sta­tus by putting down our neigh­bors, we now choose in­stead to cov­er their shame through re­la­tion­ship. All these things we nev­er would have thought to do or de­spaired at not hav­ing the pow­er to do are all pos­si­ble when God be­comes our wall and our glo­ry with­in Zech 2:5. Let it be said though that this is a con­stant fight against our old self and old ways which only dies as we kill it. In essence, God does not pre­sume that be­cause you have cho­sen Him once, you have cho­sen Him for­ev­er. When you choose Him, He es­sen­tial­ly says yes. He sur­rounds you and em­braces you. He wash­es you clean through the sac­ri­fice of His Son and gives you His Spir­it that you might have the pow­er to serve Him.

Rep­e­ti­tion

At this point you think, this is ni­i­ice. I’m saved. No need to do any­thing. At this point you have tak­en Him for grant­ed and also take it for grant­ed that He has tak­en you for grant­ed. So that you think the pas­sion you feel now will al­ways be there and will be sta­tus quo. But like every good re­la­tion­ship, there must be rep­e­ti­tion. Like the covenant of the sun with the sky, there must be rep­e­ti­tion. It is through rep­e­ti­tion that the re­la­tion­ship is strength­ened. For this rea­son, the hus­band con­stant­ly seeks for ways to show and reaf­firm out­ward­ly the love he feels in­ward­ly. For this rea­son the hus­band feels in­ward­ly what he has shown out­ward­ly. There­fore, once cov­ered, cleaned and em­pow­ered, the Lord then hands you a sword Eph 6:17 and says, “go to war against your old self. Go to war em­pow­ered by me. You say you love me, then say it over and over again by af­firm­ing that our re­la­tion­ship is more im­por­tant than your life, more im­por­tant than hav­ing your own way”.

How Peace Brings War

The Chris­t­ian life is full of peace that pass­es un­der­stand­ing. It pass­es un­der­stand­ing for many rea­sons but among these is be­cause it is a peace that cre­ates war Matt 10:34. But this should not be sur­pris­ing. It is light that re­veals dark­ness. Be­fore light, all was dark­ness and no one knew any bet­ter. It is true love that re­veals hate and even pro­duces the right kind of hate Psalms 139:21-22.

This is not un­usu­al even in hu­man re­la­tion­ships. A hus­band learns to hate his self­ish­ness more and more as he be­comes prac­ticed in lov­ing his wife. So also then true peace with God re­veals that there are wars we must fight. But we do not fight wars as the world of­ten thinks to do. Ac­cord­ing to world­ly un­der­stand­ing, wars are fought to bring or se­cure the peace. In the King­dom of God, we fight wars only af­ter the peace has been es­tab­lished. Our peace sur­pass­es un­der­stand­ing be­cause it pre­cedes un­der­stand­ing. Our peace, math­e­mati­cians would say, is ax­iomat­ic not de­riv­a­tive. Our peace is the foun­da­tion and not the pin­na­cle. It is only af­ter I am at peace with God that I am able to make war against my self. The war against my self does not se­cure the peace with God. In­stead, it is the peace with God that se­cures the war against my­self.

The Chris­t­ian life then is one lived only through con­stant of­fense Matt 11:12. Yet in para­dox, the of­fense be­gins be­cause we have an im­pen­e­tra­ble de­fense. We be­gin fight­ing af­ter God be­comes our wall. The first war is in­ter­nal, against my­self and every­thing in me that wants to do its own thing. Progress in this in­ter­nal bat­tle changes my iden­ti­ty and rep­e­ti­tion af­firms the new man that I have be­come.

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