And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful.
(Colossians 3:15 – ESV)
(Colossians 3:15 – ESV)
The peace of Christ, the fruit of the Spirit should characterize the community of God’s people, the new man in manifestation. Paul is talking about the group but this also has application to the individual. Of course if each member is following this “rule” then the group will be in peace as well. The church should be like a filling station where we can have the peace of God poured into our tanks, readying us for another week in the world.
Of course, a weekly fill up is wonderful, and a mid week top off of the tank is a good idea. However, even the pastor can’t spend every waking hour at the church in the presence of God with other believers. We’ll have to wait for heaven for that to happen. So we are stuck with ourselves sometimes, and we had better be sowing peace daily, otherwise it could hinder and hamper our church time.
Be thankful that you have been called into the body of Christ, wherever you may be in a local body; let the peace of Christ rule in you personally and it will help corporately. The Greek says to keep on being thankful; it is a continuous obligation. You were indeed called into a body, and a hand doesn’t hit its own stomach, the knee doesn’t smash the other on purpose, etc., etc. When you hit others in the body you hit yourself, you wouldn’t take one of your hands and slap the other and say, “ now get with it” would you? No you would realize that it is a team problem, so get together around Christ and work it out. The progressive nurture and thus preventative maintenance of this relationship is vital to our individual, spiritual lives.
We must strive for peace (Hebrews 12:14) and not try and strike back (Romans 12:17-21). Though with some there can be no peace, we can still have peace overall. For example, in spite of our being in a spiritual war, we have peace with God, and though we may have outer conflict, we have inner peace, both in a personal and a corporate sense.
We need true peace; some have peace on the outside but war on the inside (Psalm 28:3, 55:21). How do you know if you are or if someone else is acting in peace? James 3:13-18 gives us many clues to look for in situations and be aware of in our own lives.
13 – live peacefully and it will show its rightness to others.
14-15 – make sure of your motives, the truth is to be held up as first priority.
16 – selfish motives will engender strife and still worse it will lead to all sorts of evil. Look at this verse carefully; covetousness is the mother of all sin, as we see evidenced here once again.
17-18 – the right kind of peace and wisdom is unspotted with the world (James 1:27, 4:4), and is willing to listen as we draw close to God together (James 4:8). If we are true peacemaker’s not just conflict avoiders then there will be a harvest of peace, if not the trouble will surface again. It is not about avoiding conflict it is about truth and trust, in God, in the Holy Spirit within each other and the process of peace. Not “leave me alone”, but “help me to grow”.
Don’t come looking for a fight, come bearing peace. Remember, peace follows love (Ephesians 4:2-3). If you cannot have peaceful fellowship with God’s people, whom exactly do you expect to have peace with?