20 Now the God of peace, who brought up from the dead the great Shepherd of the sheep through the blood of the eternal covenant, even Jesus our Lord, 21 equip you in every good thing to do His will, working in us that which is pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen.
In reading today’s passage, I was reminded of another from 2 Timothy 3:
16 All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; 17 so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.
I read a blog the other day that talked about “God never gives you anything you can’t handle.” The biggest part of this that we usually neglect is the caveat “with Him.” We often neglect the little verse that we quote often but don’t really take to heart which is found in Philippians 4:13:
I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.
If it doesn’t involve God, then what’s the point? If we don’t need Him, then why do we need Him in our lives? Our pride kicks in and we try to do it on our own and then when we fail we ask God why He didn’t help us. We must recognize that 1) as our purpose is to worship Him, our worship comes through relying on Him for all things and 2) it isn’t about us! Too often we run ahead and do some “good stuff” and look back and say, “daddy, look at what I did for you.” While He might appreciate it, it isn’t what He had planned for you and therefore we will not realize our full potential.
We hear a lot about purpose and God’s purpose for our lives, but how often do we stop to try and figure out what that is? We memorize “feel good” scriptures like Jeremiah 29:11 (which, by the way, was for the Israelites in Babylon not modern day followers of Christ) and recite them over and over to ourselves until we feel better about ourselves and then we return back to where we just were. What if your purpose is to be crucified upside down? Peter was martyred that way and about half of the other original disciples but they bore it gladly.
If we stop looking at God’s promises in a worldly way and seek out His will we will not only realize the very specific reason we are alive today, but we will also be filled with joy at the thought of it, even if it is to be tortured and killed. The joy doesn’t come from our physical experiences, but our communion with God. I was talking yesterday with my boss about the word “peace,” (the word the author used today to describe God) and how the English language has betrayed its true meaning.
The original Greek for the word peace used here is Eirene (pronounced it almost sounds like irony), and represents the idea of, “peace between individuals, i.e. harmony, concord, security, safety, prosperity, felicity.” We have changed it today to mean “without stress” which is a result of being at peace, but not a complete definition of what it means to have peace. The God of Peace is the God of Unity, Harmony, Concord, and Security. This is what is meant by “the peace that surpasses all understanding.” When we develop a deep relationship with God, our peace comes from unity with Him and therefore knowing that all will be ok despite the chaos around us.
It is through this unity that God has prepared for us good works to accomplish as worship unto Him. It is this peace and unity that equips us in every good thing to do His will. In our unity with God through Christ, we better learn and understand God’s will and therefore can carry it out. Furthermore, we are united with Him and have the ability to do so. In John 14, Jesus tells His disciples about the Holy Spirit’s role in creating this peace and unity:
25 “These things I have spoken to you while abiding with you. 26 But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you. 27 Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.
Just a little bit before, Jesus revealed the purpose of the Spirit abiding in us:
11 Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me; otherwise believe because of the works themselves. 12 Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also; and greater works than these he will do; because I go to the Father.
Our unity with God through the Spirit because of Christ empowers us to do “greater works” than Jesus did! Have you read the miracles He performed? Raising people from the dead, healing the lame and sick, foretelling the future, freely dying for others, forgiving sins…these were all accomplished out of Jesus’ unity with God and our unity with God is to produce even more miraculous things! So, why aren’t we doing them? It is a direct reflection of our unity with God. How can you be better united with God today?