There’s a reason that the scriptures say, “Blessed are the Peacemakers …”
Peace is never automatic. It doesn’t occur without effort. Peace needs to be made.
The verse we’ll look at today tells us to WORK AT LIVING IN PEACE WITH EVERYONE.
Like everything else that is made, peace takes work. As we look at the many conflicts in the world around us today, it can be overwhelming. I started to list the places, but then stopped. Having a list of places where people are fighting and dying in horrible ways doesn’t advance the work of peace. Because you and I can’t make peace in any of those places. There’s actually only two places we can make peace.
The first place is AROUND US.
No one lives life in a vacuum. Everyone interacts with people around them in their day to day lives. It may just be one or two, or it could be many more; but in every interaction we have an opportunity to be the peacemaker. Sometimes we work to make peace where peace has been lost, making the effort to restore relationships or reduce conflict. Hopefully, most of the time the efforts you and I will make as peacemakers will be to build upon and reinforce a peace that exists.
Jesus warns us that we’ll have tribulation in the world. Things are going to happen around us that can threaten to rob our peace. But He encourages us to take heart; He has overcome the world. And because He has, He can give us the grace to do the same thing. He has given us HIS PEACE. Not the peace that the world gives, which is just an absence of conflict. The peace He gives us is an ACTIVE peace, with the power to change everything (and everyone) it touches. How does it “touch” people and situations? Why, through you and me, of course.
We are intended to be more infectious than COVID, carrying the peace of Christ into the places we go and sharing it with the people we meet. We are the aroma of Christ as we live our lives in the midst of a world that often stinks. If you’ve ever walked by someone who’s wearing perfume or cologne and been pleasantly surprised, you’ve got the right image. Our “aroma” is based upon Christ’s love, expressed in Christ’s power. It’s supposed to spread to everyone who gets close to us. Love is contagious.
As we live out the life of Christ that is in us, the Holy Spirit will use the gifts He’s given us to make the fruit of the Holy Spirit grow. His fruitfulness in our lives will have its intended impact.
The key to being a peacemaker and impacting the world AROUND us is to have the peace giver living WITHIN us.
You cannot give what you do not have. It is the Lord of peace Himself who gives you and me peace – at all times in every way. When Jesus told us to take heart because He had overcome the world, He began His statement by telling His disciples that He was saying these things so that IN HIM they could have peace. Well, the only way for us to be IN HIM is to have Him IN US. That makes sense, right?
We who have invited Him in can have His perfect peace. Stop and think about those two words for just a moment — PERFECT PEACE. Consider what “perfect peace” would look like in your life. What would it look like if you had it in your family? Or your workplace? Hmmmm, PERFECT peace.
The good news is that Christ says He will keep everyone in perfect peace if they keep their mind focused upon Him. He’s the source of the peace. When we are deliberate in our decision to focus on Him, it is a deliberate decision to trust Him. When we focus on Him, we’re attuned to what He is saying. We can receive His strategies, His direction – and HIS PEACE. He can help us see the problem from the perspective of His power and presence, as long as we remain focused on Him. When we focus on the problem, our minds get distracted from the solution.
So if you’d like to be a peacemaker, first make peace WITH God. Then you’ll be able to carry the peace OF God into the situations around you.
And that, as I said at the beginning, takes work. Seek peace. Pursue it !! Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts. When the trials and tribulations of the world try to invade your inner sanctuary – the place where Jesus is living within you – just take everything that is making you anxious and give it to Him. “Here, Jesus, take this would You, please?” And He will. You can cast all your anxieties on Him, because He cares for you. As you cast all your anxieties on Him, He will fill you with all joy … AND PEACE. It will make you strong; VERY strong indeed.
So strong, in fact, that you can work at living in peace with EVERYONE. And that, my friend, is amazingly strong.
WORK AT LIVING IN PEACE WITH EVERYONE