Created for Eden But Trapped in Babylon
God doesn’t complete me. I know this sounds weird, but it’s true. He doesn’t complete you either, and I can prove it. In the book of Philippians, Paul says, “make my joy complete by being like-minded” (Phil. 2:2).
Make his joy complete? Shouldn’t Jesus make him complete? Haven’t we all been told that God completes us? Well, He does, and He doesn’t.
Jesus fixed our relationship between God and us, but we are still at war with other people. Large portions of the New Testament are devoted to urging us to make peace with the other people around us. So the idea that God doesn’t complete us in this life should not strike us as odd.
We were created for the Garden of Eden where we were not only at peace with God, but also with other people. That’s the other part of the equation we often forget about. We were made to live in peace with God, but we are also made to live in peace with others in God’s presence.
Revelation describes heaven as a garden city. In many ways, we are going back to how God made us to be. We were meant to live in Eden, but right now, we are stuck in-between.
We might have peace with God, but we are still learning how to be at peace with others. I think this explains why disagreements in the church can be so dangerous. The church is supposed to be the example of unity to the rest of the world. It is supposed to be a place where people from every background and race can worship together.
Unfortunately, the church can often be a place of great drama. We might have Jesus in common, but with many, that’s about it. We have different music taste, different backgrounds and different ways of communicating. Put a large group of flawed people into a building with other flawed people, and vicious arguments are bound to happen. So what on earth can we do to overcome this?
First, we need to remember that we are not made for this earth. If we can remind ourselves that we won’t be perfectly complete in this life then perhaps we can have the expectation that not every issue is going to get solved. Only in television do problems get fixed in 30 minutes. In real life, some things never get resolved. If I understand that, then I can focus more on the relationship then just trying to be right.
Secondly, we must focus on what we have in common. Imagine if your team won the Super Bowl. You and your team head down to the locker room excited about such an incredible victory. Suddenly, you notice that someone is wearing the wrong color socks. Would this be something that bothered you so much that it would keep you from celebrating the victory? Of course not! In the same way, if we focus on the victory we have in Christ, everything else should seem rather petty.
Lastly, remember that unity among others is your secondary source of joy. Your primary source of joy is found in Christ, but we are also called to find joy in our relationship with others. Your joy will be more complete if you humble yourself and learn to stand on the common ground all believers share.
Let’s learn to celebrate each other. God has made us all unique for a reason, and I truly believe we grow better in Christ when we grow together.