11 So remember that once you were Gentiles by physical descent, who were called “uncircumcised” by Jews who are physically circumcised. 12 At that time you were without Christ. You were aliens rather than citizens of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of God’s promise. In this world you had no hope and no God. 13 But now, thanks to Christ Jesus, you who once were so far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ.
14 Christ is our peace. He made both Jews and Gentiles into one group. With his body, he broke down the barrier of hatred that divided us. 15 He canceled the detailed rules of the Law so that he could create one new person out of the two groups, making peace. 16 He reconciled them both as one body to God by the cross, which ended the hostility to God.
17 When he came, he announced the good news of peace to you who were far away from God and to those who were near. 18 We both have access to the Father through Christ by the one Spirit. 19 So now you are no longer strangers and aliens. Rather, you are fellow citizens with God’s people, and you belong to God’s household. 20 As God’s household, you are built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets with Christ Jesus himself as the cornerstone.
God created one big, diverse human family. Christ came after that family had split into many warring camps. There was a physical barrier of hatred in the Jerusalem Temple. Scholar William Barclay quoted the Jewish historian Josephus as saying the second court of the Temple “‘was encompassed by a stone wall for a partition, with an inscription which forbade any foreigner to go in under pain of death’ (The Antiquities of the Jews, 15, 11, 5). In 1871 one of these prohibiting tablets was actually discovered, and the inscription on it reads: ‘Let no one of any other nation come within the fence and barrier around the Holy Place. Whosoever will be taken doing so will himself be responsible for the fact that his death will ensue.’”* Ephesians said Jesus called the church into being to break down that barrier in ways relevant to real life.
Loving Jesus, my heart aches when I see the angry divisions in our world causing pain and suffering. You see even more than I do—how your loving, unifying heart must ache. Make me an instrument of your peace. Amen.
* William Barclay, The Letters to the Galatians and Ephesians (Revised Edition). Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 1976, p. 112.
Trust can be hard. It means that we willingly hand over control. Remember trusting your first love? A new babysitter to your first child? How about the keys to your car for your new teenage driver? We tend to hesitate because trust is hard. We must open ourselves to the possibility of being out of control or that something may go wrong or someone may get hurt.
However, when we hand over control to God we unlock the beautiful blessings God has in store for us. Why do we tend to want to control so much in our lives?Control may empower us to feel as though there’s a stronger chance that things will go our way, but we are robbing ourselves of the joy of interruptions and God’s nudges to do more for the Kingdom.
There’s a beautiful peace that can be overwhelming if you are able to relinquish your fears and your control to God. It’s not a promise that life will run smoothly, but it’s a promise that God will never leave your side. In Revelation 22:13 we read, “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.” God is always accessible, ever-present and ready for us in our hour of need and our hour of joy.
The peace that comes when you allow God to steer your life is profound. It’s in the “unloading process” where we feel our load lighten and God creates beautiful openings to explore his profound unconditional love and protection of us. When your load lightens you open yourself up to more joy. Not just joy in your daily life but the unexplainable joy that radiates from your inner soul, the peace glowing from the inside out.
Go easy on yourself. Lighten your load and trust others in the process. By trusting in our Lord you will become a beacon of hope to those around you and others will be moved by your faith in our Savior.
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