How do I Achieve Peace AND Be Holy?

img_2644

Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord.

Hebrews 12.14, ESV

Peace is an elusive, hard-won, state of affairs.

One party may feel at peace while another is ramping up efforts to overturn it. World leaders made flowery overtures about how they longed for lasting peace after World War I. Unfortunately, their desire to humiliate the Germans via reparations payments simply set the stage for another world war.

These past several years have been anything but peaceful, and the past few weeks have been downright nuts. I don’t care where you stand politically—both sides are behaving like sugar-hyped, bickering siblings. Continue reading

Day 8: Iron Opportunities

This post is part of “30 days of Giving Thanks” To read more within this series, click here.

image

“Iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.”

~ Proverbs 27.17, NASB

Have you ever tried to cut with a dull blade? It can be done, but the cuts are less precise and it takes a whole lot of force to get the knife to push through. A dull knife is like a dull mind—it needs sharpening or else it will accomplish little.

I am thankful today for discussion.

I do not know where I would be today were it not for challenges to my beliefs and the teachers who have taught me critical thinking. In today’s society, beneficial discussion is a rare thing. Read the comments below a controversial post or article and you’ll see a lot of ad hominem attacks and poor logic.

The Iron Opportunity

Having someone disagree with your view might make you sad, especially when that contrary position is anti-God and anti-Christian, but look at it as an iron opportunity. It’s the chance to sharpen your mind. You have to listen carefully to what is being said and respond with cool reason. You will be forced to evalutate your position. It will either deepen your conviction or shake it. I have also learned that some discussions are pointless.

Debate provides wisdom and insight

College provided me with many such opportunities. I had many a deep discussion with my Mormon, agnostic, Wiccan, and non-believing friends; I discussed evolution with my professors; I learned more about apologetics from my preacher and the elders; I took argumentative writing; discussed the legitimacy of homosexuality with my resident advisor; my friends from other Christian denominations would challenge me on various points of doctrine, and there were always always people with questions… and I was the one they were asking at that moment.

Even within bible classes I have observed heated debates over certain topics. I learned a lot from watching—anger can snuff out reason, people can blind themselves to the obvious, a soft answer can turn away wrath and its okay to stand firm against error.

Iron sharpens iron.

Debate is a sharpening tool.

Debate has often established my faith. It forces me to research my beliefs more thoroughly and, at times, it has altered my views on things. I have learned humility—I consider the possibility that I could be wrong and try to see the issue from the opposite side. Often, this exercise deepens my existing conviction, but from time to time my views change. I learn how to respond with greater precision and efficiency. I can argue my point with greater confidence. I gain wisdom from the experience.

Give thanks for your iron opportunities and the wisdom they bring.