Honestly, Shalom is not a word I think about often or even use. This week I have been praying through some heart issues. It is surprising the things God will reveal to us about the condition of our hearts when we ask. What I have discovered is that Shalom is lacking in my life. I am still processing and learning to apply what God is revealing to me about Shalom, but I want to share where I am . . . figuring some of you are right there with me.
Restoration and wholeness are needed in my heart and mind. I still have to fight to think right on a daily basis. And if I believe God at His word, then there is no reason to walk around wounded and discouraged.
Life can wear us down. Many of us are walking through hard circumstances and uncertainty right now. As we all know, sometimes these things last for years. We get weary and feel discouraged. Circumstances may not change, yet God calls us to walk in the victory and peace of Christ. We are not defined by our circumstances. Life here on earth is temporary. As these troubles pass, remember God’s faithfulness endures forever.
Can we possibly be thankful in all things? We know that the testing of our faith is good for us.
Consider it pure joy, my brothers, when you encounter trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Allow perseverance to finish its work, so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. James 1:2-4
Our problems and challenges are not removed and repaired overnight. It’s through these things we are sanctified. Our progressive sanctification, according to Jon Payne is “the ongoing process that destroys the remaining corruption of sin in us and increases the fruit of righteousness (Rom. 5:1-2; 8:12-14; Phil.1:9-11).” It is our sufferings and challenges that purge us of sin and help shape us into what God created us to be . . . more humble . . . more responsive to the Holy Spirit . . . more forgiving . . . more compassionate . . . more giving . . . more willing to lay our lives down . . . more peaceful.
According to the website JewsforJesus.org, “Peace, lasting peace, transcends the situations and flaws of our own personal lives because it doesn’t come from us. It comes from God. We are not in a position to attain peace ourselves.Yet, God promises all the qualities of shalom – wholeness, completeness, soundness, health, safety – to those who will look to Him.
The prophet Isaiah wrote, “You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you. Trust in the LORD forever, for the LORD, the LORD, is the Rock eternal” (Isaiah 26:3–4). Trusting in God means recognizing Him and giving Him His rightful place in our lives. (https://jewsforjesus.org)
Oh to be made whole, not defined by our failures and weaknesses, but standing in the victory of Christ over death and sin. When Jesus is our greatest love we hold loosely to the things of this world and then we learn to hold tightly to a redeemed security . . . acceptance . . . and sense of belonging.
There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ. The enemy will come at us with the voice of condemnation. If we are indeed in Christ, we recognize that voice is a liar and we need to call it out for what it is and respond with the voice of Truth. We all fall short of what God calls us to be. We all sin and fail miserably. But because of the cross, we don’t have to stay there. We don’t have to live in condemnation. Grace and mercy are freely given as we confess our sins. We are restored.
Shalom, my friends. I pray you will walk in His wholeness and peace as you go out this week.
“I have seen his ways, but I will heal him; I will lead him and restore comfort to him and his mourners.” (Isaiah 57:18)
I believe it was C.S. Lewis who used the illustration of a dog on a leash as an analogy to being led by the Lord. If a the dog wraps its leash and itself around a sign or light post, its instinct is to push forward twice as hard to free itself. But the master holding the leash sees immediately that the exact opposite is needed. But because the dog doesn’t, a tug-of-war ensues.
I’ve found that in times of enduring, sometimes without really having a grasp on why certain things are happening, something else is going on, unseen: “the renewing of my mind” (Rom 12:1-2). It takes an adjustment of my will, but understanding follows yielding to the Lord in the midst of difficult or confusing circumstances: “then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will” (12:2). Probably one of the best illustrations of this is the story of Joseph (Gen 37-50).
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David, now that I think about it, I believe it was one of your recent blog post that started God’s work in my heart about Shalom. Then it reappeared a couple of times throughout the week as I read a book and even a devotion I receive by email. Never have I thought much about shalom. But God used your post to begin a new work in my heart and mind. Thank you for your comment. I always enjoy listening and learning from you.