Peace, Harmony, And Love For God

Phillippians 2:14-16

Wy is it so easy to complain?  There are alot of things it is so easy to complain about.  The world doesn't revolve around me.  It revolves around Christ.  It revolves around our Lord God.  So when we think about being faithful and complaining, complaining requires no effort.  Arguing is much the same.  It can be in our churches, or in our homes, our families, our jobs.  There is a tendency when we disagree to get an attitude about it, and that is anger, frustration.  Before you know it, two people who are close together become separated.  Let's look at God's Word and find out how it could help us with arguing.   It's not easy.  It's a challenge.  But, with God all things are possible. 

Let's see what we can do in our daily lives, just touching the hem of the garment, to start to have more peaceful families, to have a church that is seeking God's Word, not one that follows the  commandments of man or traditions of man, but a church with living, breathing people who are seeking God.  We can't think that we have it all.  We are constantly seeking Him.   We see that we need slow, selfless anger. Let's look at James 1;19-20:

"My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this:  Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness  that God desires."

When is it ok to be angry?  In John 2: 13-17

"When it was almost time for the Jewish Passover, Jesus went up to Jerusalem.  In the temple courts. He found people selling cattle, sheep, and doves, and others sitting at tables exchanging money.  So He made a whip out of cords and drove all from the temple courts,...."Get these out of here!  Stop turning my Father's house into a market!  His disciples remembered that it is written 'Zeal for your house will consume me."

Jesus was showing power.  He was angry!   They had taken something holy, and made it unholy.  Our holy God is being mocked on a daily basis.  Jesus wasn't angry about what they were saying to Him.  He was angry about what they were doing to His Father.  One key element of righteous anger is that we're not angry because someone has done something to me, but we're angry because something has been done to God.

But you also see the idea of patience in this.  Think about what you are doing.  Be slow to anger.  Take yourself out of the equation.  When we are disagreeing with each other, it's not about me and you.  It's about trying to find out what the truth is.  It's about us and God.  So we should get angry when someone says something that hurts God. 

How can we be slow to anger?  When was the last time you were fuming mad and made a great decision?   That hole in the wall needed to be there. That's a nice decoration.  We just don't make good decisions when we are fuming mad.  So in a disagreement with each other, what does that tell you if you start feeling the bubble in your blood, if you feel that wrath coming on, if you cannot subdue it and control it?   Have at least the godliness to say,  "You know what, I can't continue this discussion in a godly manner, let's go away and we'll come back and discuss this later.  That is slow to anger. 

We need to be quick to listen.  Be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to anger.   I want to read proverbs 9:7-9.

"Whoever corrects a mocker invites insults; whoever rebukes the wicked incurs abuse.  Do not rebuke mocers or they will hate you; rebuke the wise and they will love you.  Instruct the wise and they will be wiser still;  teach the righteous and they will add to their learning."

If we really desire God's wisdom, we have to be teachable people, not scoffers.  We have to be willing to be openminded.  We need to be people who are willing to listen to what God says especially, and listen to one another.   We need to understand.  What does understanding have to do with anger?  We should let God work in our lives the way He should.  Not flawlessly.  My wife helps me with things and I help her.  That's what a marriage can be; that's what a church can be with God.  It can work harmoniously, but we have to be quick to listen.   

We need to listen to each other, but most importantly, we need to listen to God.  We need to be subject to God's Word in every single way, even if it's not what we normally do, not what our traditions say, and not what we're comfortable doing.  Serving God is not about being comfortable.

There are two aspects of listening that are important.  If we're disagreeing with each other, and I'm not listening to you, how can I possibly answer your argument?  Also, there's an emotional side to that too.  Why are we talking if we don't use our mouths to communicate?  We don't want to use our mouths as a weapon.  We want to listen to one another.  Why is it that a lack of understanding leads to anger?  Look at 1Peter 3:15.  Here's another solution God gives to being able to disagree without getting angry. 

"But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord  Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.  But do this with gentlemess and respect." 

...Brethren, if we can't say, "This is why I am doing this,"  if I can't point to something in the New Testament  and say, "This is why I'm doing this," what am I doing?  Meekness is not weakness, as Peter says  to be meek.  The idea of meekness is power that is brought under control, being tame.  A tame lion is not meek.  He just has allowed the master to tame him.  Our power becomes greater when we are tamed by God, but we need to bring that power under control.

Be slow to speak.  Think about the extremes of power and control.  Let's say you have a car with a gargantuan amount of power, but absolutely no control.  Without control, you get destroyed.  When we know we have power, we know that we have to have more control.  A person with lots of power and less control  is reeking destruction on the people around him.  That wasn't our Lord, that wasn't the way Jesus was, and He was the most powerful person who ever lived.  Jesus lifted the burden of sin; He lifted the entire world.  There is no one with that kind of strength.  There were so many things Jesus could have done but He didn't, because He was meek and gentle.  That's the way we need to be.  

A fool wants to prove that he is right.  A wise person seeks to prove what IS right.  We don't want to be argument winners.  We want to be soul winners for Christ, not argument winners.  We want to speak in a godly way to keep from responding in an ungodly one.  Proverbs 29:9 says that, when a wise man has a controversy with a foolish man, the foolish man either rages or laughs, and there's no rest. So, if Jesus had complained or argued about coming to save us, how would that have been?   

So what do we have to complain about?  Nothing.  We have done nothing but have been offered everything.  There's nothing to complain about.  Jesus was the ultimate peacemaker, and that's what we want to be.  We want to be people who are helping others to be at peace with God, and at peace with one another.