Wednesday, Jan 30, 2019. In the New Testament, there are many words about love, about peace and the way to live together in a peaceful way. At the same time, there is a lot of struggle in the letters of the apostles as well as in the gospels. Not all is well in the Jewish community. And not all is well in the early Christian church. So there is struggle by those who are called to lead the church deeper into faith.
Deeper into faith …
Paul is writing to the church. Let us listen for a moment, and then put his words into a perspective which includes us today.
1 For I want you to know how great a struggle I have for you and for those at Laodicea and for all who have not seen me face to face, 2 that their hearts may be encouraged, being knit together in love, to reach all the riches of full assurance of understanding and the knowledge of God’s mystery, which is Christ, 3 in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. (Kol 2, 1ff)
Where humans live together, there is also discussion. There are different opinions, different choices, different priorities. Some love art, and they need time to develop creativity. Others are more the productive people, and they are efficient and use all time in a productive way. Even in a community which is half-way working, there is a lot to balance.
But there are also things which step over the border of character or priority. Where lies or manipulation starts to become a tool, we loose the contact to Christ Jesus. There are all different ways through which people try to achieve their goals, which are not good. And it is necessary to intervene and clarify what is good and what is not. Paul writes about “the great a struggle I have for you” to the church. And we have this struggle as well, today!
Our struggle …
Today, there is a lot to struggle as well. There are two points to keep in mind: First, Paul's struggle is for the church! Second, his struggle is for all humans as well, since God wants all to find him, to find faith, to be reconciled and healed.
So we have the struggle within the church, to develop attitudes which keep truth - both in doctrine and personally, by our words and our deeds to fit to each other. It is a struggle about discipleship. It is a struggle about what love really means, how it is realized and lived. After 25 years of church development, I have seen so much where the characters of Christians have their difficulties with discipleship, with following Christ. There is a lot to do, and it is not easy at all …
And at the same time, we live in the middle of a world which does not know Christ. God is a strange idea, and his truth is a mystery. The good point is: Jesus is there. The gospel is open to be heard. If people open their heart, they can find him, and he will reveal himself fully. There are unbelievable treasures to be found for every human. He is just great, and with him, we step on a path of true discipleship. He changes our heart - and all we are and do! Day by day, step by step. (Roland Potthast) ... further texts