Saturday, July 18, 2009

Our Shared Longings

I believe there are certain universal longings shared by all people. The four things we all long for are love, joy, peace and power. Of course not everyone longs in equal measure for each of these things. Sometimes I feel the need for peace more acutely than I do for joy, but I need and long for each of these attributes to some degree at all times.

On a human level every individual can experience the warmth of familial love, moments of ecstasy, times of peace and aspects of personal power. The drive to experience these things more often, and to an ever greater degree, drives all human ambition and activity.

Those who are followers of Jesus Christ and have come to God through him have access to these things in a double and deeper sense. Jesus told his followers he was imparting his peace to them. He said it was a peace such as the world at large was unable to give. It was an extraordinary peace. It was a peace so deep even the prospect of death could not ultimately disturb it.

Everyone needs to give and receive human love. If you have been to a wedding you have probably heard the preacher refer to first Corinthians thirteen. That is the great passage where the apostle Paul writes of the essential qualities of the highest form of love--which is Gods love, "agape" love. It is the love that, unlike all human love, "never fails."

Not only do Christ's followers experience extraordinary love and peace, but they also posses a joy which is almost undefinable. Jesus prayed to God the Father that his followers would experience the joy shared by the Son and Father--a joy which flowed from their unique oneness and intimate fellowship.

Lastly, those who belong to Jesus have access to a special power which only comes from a dynamic connection with the God of all creation. It is a power that proclaims, perseveres and overcomes. This power emboldens the believer to unashamedly proclaim the gospel. This power enables Christ's followers to persevere through every trial, difficulty, doubt and discouragement. This power ultimately gives Jesus' people the ability to overcome sin, temptation and the Devil's traps and to cross the final finish line with a victorious and living faith.

The marks of Jesus' followers: love, joy, peace, power.

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