OVERCOMING AN AGGRESSIVELY VIOLENT WORLD: reflections after 39 yrs. of being a conscientious objector (incl. over 8 yrs. in prison) of things that work. There were in fact two times when I defended myself in prison, not that it made me happy to fall short of my ideal, as I fall short more than I would like in various ways, but the important thing is not my sin, but the beautiful story God would work out of situations. I think that is one lesson from life, is that we all make petty choices, choices that make us feel like we have failed or are moral midgets, but thru it all God’s creates a beautiful story, and it is that story that should focus our attention. One of my favorite verses: “But we all, w/ unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.” 2 COR 3:18. Beholding God—becoming more like Him. Beholding & becoming. Focusing on Him is life changing, transforming us into the image of glory; Christ being that glorious human image of God. PHIL 2:6, 2 COR 4:6 This is the object of our love.
It was Christ that taught us to overcome evil with good, to not repay evil w/ evil, but to repay evil w/ good. He even said not to resist evil…although he obviously meant that in a particular restricted sense, because he resisted evil all the time, casting out demons, defeating Satan, etc. His mission was to destroy the work of Satan according to the Word(1 JN 3:8)! So he was hardly passive. REV 5:2 calls him both a lion (courageous warrior) & a lamb (meek, peaceful). He had the key to assertively defuse a situation….When some men are intent on killing a woman (JN 8), he doesn’t passively stand by, nor does he fight with them, but he defuses the situation & saves her life. Those kind of noble responses are what elevate us. He shows us here that he was truthful when he said, “Take heart. I have overcome the world! JN 16:33.
He gave us his Spirit. “In Him we live & move & have our being.”ACTS 17:28 Note: “He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.” 1 JN 4:4 It’s good to know that, especially as we have enemies. Our greatest enemy, Satan, loves to have us let our guard down: “Get comfortable for everything is alright, don’t rock the boat.” That was exactly the tactic of the SS before they shot various ethnic groups, & will be same tactic used next time. One more thought to all this: “The Lord takes pleasure in those who hope in steadfast love.” PS 147:11. His Spirit in us makes us overcomers, and our hope in this pleases Him, as well as giving us confidence.
Messiah encouraged focus, sincerity & single mindedness. “If the eye be single, thy whole body will be full of light.” Sadly, many exchange their glory (cf. JER 2:13), so we want to keep our focus on Christ, & not our own weaknesses. Confess things, stand up & move on. God’s ancient wisdom teaches us, “It is an honor for a man to cease from strife.” PRV 20:3. God’s prophecies say the vulture becomes a dove, the stickers—the briar—become a myrtle tree (ISA 55:13) and the wolf becomes lamblike (ISA 11:6-9). I have seen this. For instance, a neo-nazi due to the loving kindness of a Jewish nurse went from wolf to lamblike. So the wisdom from above is first pure & peaceable. JS 3:17 A similar pairing is seen in HEB 12:14: “Follow peace & holiness”. Take the moral high ground & be peacefully assertive. One does not strive to do others wrong, but to do oneself what is right. So in one pastoral letter Paul says not to use the law against our brothers but resolve it peacefully as brothers; in other places he suggests using the law to do oneself right.(cf. 1 TIM 1:8)
Christ is the role model of overcoming the World. “He who says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked.” 1 JN 2:6. My experience has shown me that when we can make Christlike decisions we become overcomers like he was. (Note that he still suffered, but suffering was redemptive.) 2 COR 3:18 wonderfully teaches that to look at him becomes a way of becoming like him. Behold & become.


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