A number of years ago I made a snap decision purchase, that unlike some other snap decisions, I’m really glad I made it. At the time I didn’t have a coffee machine. I went to a conference where a friend had brought along his espresso machine and I really liked how it worked. I decided on the spot we really needed one as well. No regrets.
Something nice about including in regular morning routine making of a coffee with our coffee machine. Click the handle and it delivers a predetermined amount of coffee. Tamp it down and fit it into the machine for a predetermined amount of water to pass through it into the cup. Fill the milk jug to the same level every day, fit it under the machine, press another button and the milk is warmed to a set temperature and consistency. It’s dependable. There’s a stability knowing that it’s a reliable system. For at least that one moment in the day there is a level of certainty. And certainty is a good thing, rare though it be.
How do we find certainty and peace in an uncertain world?
A World In Conflict
Of course, our world is anything but certain at the moment. Attention has turned from Ukraine to Israel, as we’ve had to grapple with the horrors that were unleashed there just over a week ago and now the escalation of war. How has this happened? Why did this happen? How do we make sense of it? How do we find confidence to think and act and decide in a world like this?
Life In Conflict
Though the conflict is happening on the other side of the world, it’s not that far from home. Whether it’s protests in our capital cities. Or violence and assault happening in our community that leaves us reeling. Division over election results. There are things that happen around us and even in our own houses and churches that are far from under our control. How do we have confidence to move forward and make positive decisions, when we live in a world where seemingly it could all just as easily be taken away?
The Conflict Settler
In the letter to the Ephesians Paul gives those he’s writing to a foundation for hope.
'Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us.' (Ephesians 1:3-8)
All the conflict that we experience in this world flows from the very first conflict between us and our creator. As Adam and Eve listened to the snake instead of their God, they were cut off from God and therefor from each other. Yet, God has blessed us through Jesus Christ in restoring our relationship with Him. He chose to do this before the world was created as an expression of dedicated love. The way he worked it out was to have Jesus die to pay the price for our sins. In doing this he redeems us from Satan’s grasp and allows us to be adopted by our heavenly Father.
Putting Conflict to Rest
The implication of what God has done through Jesus is that he has put into action his plan, which he has now fully revealed to us through Jesus:
‘With all wisdom and understanding, he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfillment —to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ.’ (Ephesians 1:9-10)
Though we are out of step with God, with each other and the world around us, God through Jesus has made the conditions for unity to be brought to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ. To begin with, this means that Satan and demons have been disarmed and no longer have authority over us. They are under the feet of Jesus. It is for God’s people to put into effect this victory that Jesus has won. The chaos we see in our world stems from chaos that exists in the heavenly realms.
Further, there is now the possibility of unity between all peoples, especially Jews and Gentiles, as Paul will unpack in Ephesians 2. Because God has forgiven us through Jesus, the way has been opened for us to forgive others.
But the most significant thing here is that we are brought back in step with God. As we hear of Jesus death and resurrection, respond with repentance from our rebellion and faith in the forgiveness that Jesus has won, we become children of God filled with the Holy Spirit of God. We get a taste of heaven itself, where we will see all things fully and finally under Christ and conflict and instability done away with.
Moving Towards Positive Decisions For Good
In the first instance the best way to respond to all that God has done for us is to pray.
‘I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, and his incomparably great power for us who believe.’ (Ephesians 1:17-19)
If we could just see what God has done, we would be freed to act in light of it, rather than be frozen in indecision, as we look at the chaos of the world around us. The amazing thing is that God hears our prayers, sends His Holy Spirit and brings light to our eyes. He allows us to see hope, to experience the riches of relationship with God as we ‘taste of God' by the Holy Spirit and to understand something of the power we now have access to in Christ for the working of good.
Praise God that there is a way forward in our broken world.
About the Author
Jai Wright is a Christian Minister, who founded and leads MAKE Church in Mackay, Qld. He recently published the book, Life Plugged In: Connecting with the Source of Peace, Power and Purpose.
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