Tonight, while I should (I really SHOULD) be studying for midterms, I can’t help but take a minute and talk about the idea, or actually the reality, of being “unhindered.” Eugene Peterson, in his book, Christ Plays in Ten Thousand Places, has been teaching me about life with Jesus on this side of the resurrection. It’s upside down, Twilight Zonish, otherworldly when you really think about it. As followers of Jesus we’re filled with the Spirit of God, set free from the chains of sin, and unhindered because we live on the victorious side of the cross. Yes, Jesus died for our sin (oh how grateful we are for that) and yet, He lives!
Peterson says, “Once resurrection is introduced into the story, all the ways in which we work have to be rethought, re-imagined and reworked. The world’s means can no longer be employed for kingdom ends.” Such a compelling thought!
He describes the apostle Paul, in the last stages of his life and ministry, near the close of the book of Acts. From a very earthly standpoint things aren’t going that well. Paul is under house arrest – so he can’t leave. He had a rather disappointing time with the leader of the Jewish community, fellow believers are being martyred by Nero, and his own death is imminent. Yet, the Scripture says, he “proclaimed the kingdom of God and taught about the Lord Jesus Christ with boldness, unhindered (Acts 28:31).”
So, I’m thinking that what looks like bad news on the horizon, what feels like a giant obstacle, what appears to smack against progress or choke out growth, that which seems to hinder the progress of the Gospel in my life and in yours might very well be what the Lord is using to deepen our grasp of His truth and grace. A grim diagnosis, a job loss, a broken relationship, an abrupt change in plans might very well be what He is using for the progress of the Gospel.
Peterson writes, “”Unhindered” connotes a kind of effortlessness. Paul, representing the Jesus community in Rome and as such a witness to the resurrection, is no longer competing with the world’s means. His being there is enough: available, accessible to others without raising his voice, without fighting his way free of the imprisoning chain, without being diminished by the unlistening, unseeing Jewish leadership; free to offer up in intercession the massacred bodies of the Christians on the altar of the cross of Jesus.It is not exactly doing nothing. Something like sacrifice is involved….”
In a very trivial way (compared to the persecution our fellow brothers and sisters endured and endure) I want to rest in the work of the Spirit right now. I have too much to DO to be blogging, but I daresay the Spirit is leading me to post these paragraphs.