Listen: Erwin McManus, pastor of Los Angeles’ Mosaic Church, talks about his new book, ‘The Way of the Warrior’.
‘Peace’ is a loaded word. It’s a simple thought, but the path to achieving it can be complicated. On a global scale it’s quite political, and personally doesn’t always seem achievable in the daily grind.
Yet in his new book, ‘The Way of the Warrior’, LA Pastor Erwin McManus suggests that without inner peace, we’ll never see world peace.
“Human history is a reflection of the human heart”, says Erwin. “The world is at war because we’re at war; we have violence and terrorism and war in the world because we have bitterness and envy, and anger and rage, within us.”
“One of the greatest dilemmas is that we try to control things that are outside of our control.”
Erwin continues, “A lot of times we try to act like the world’s problems are external. Actually the world’s problems are a manifestation of the turmoil within the human spirit.”
Although there’s a lot that can cause that unrest, Erwin says often times it’s our need for control getting in the way.
“One of the greatest dilemmas,” said Erwin, “is that we try to control things that are outside of our control, and we relinquish control of the things we can control.”
“…All of us are in some way trying to find not just meaning in our lives, but fulfilment… [and when life] falls short of our ideals we struggle with stuff like depression and anxiety, and stress and fear and worry, and that steals from us the joy that we actually long for.”
Don’t Have Selfish Ambition, But Self-less Ambition
Part of the reason Erwin is so passionate about addressing obstacles to peace, is his belief in the potential of our lives, and God’s desire for us to fulfil it.
Achieving that requires a healthy understanding of ‘greatness’ and ‘ambition’: two things Erwin thinks have been misunderstood in the church.
“I try to help people understand – especially in LA – that ‘fame’ and ‘greatness’ are not the same thing,” said Erwin. “Fame in many ways is what you do for yourself, and greatness is what you do for others.”
Of ambition Erwin says, “we’ve misunderstood the scriptures because ambition is actually a God-given virtue; the Bible warns against ‘selfish ambition’, not ‘ambition’ itself. So if [we have] selfish ambition no amount of it is good, but if it’s ‘self-less’ ambition, you can’t get enough of it.”
To find peace also comes down to our ability to embrace our wounds and scars in all their forms, and value the story they tell.
“A lot of people try to cover all their scars and try to cover all their wounds,” said Erwin, “but to me they just add to the texture of your life. They tell you you’ve been in a story, and that story wasn’t easy, and that story cost you something… I earned all these wrinkles!” Erwin laughed.
‘The Way of the Warrior: An Ancient Path to Inner Peace’ is available now.