October 10, 2011
How to Let Peace Rule
Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts (Colossians 3:15a, NIV).
Friend to Friend
Understanding peace does not guarantee the presence of peace. I can fill my days with so many tasks, meetings, appointments, tasks and activities that peace disintegrates before noon. In Colossians 3:15, Paul encourages us to “let the peace of Christ rule” in our hearts. The word “rule” is an athletic term meaning “to preside at the games and distribute the prizes.” Sounds like a typical day in the life of a woman to me!
In the Greek games, there were judges who rejected the contestants who were not qualified and disqualified those who broke the rules. Today, we would call them “umpires” and the playing field of peace would be our hearts. “Heart” refers to “the center of one’s being.” Peace begins its reign in the center of our being; then works its way out into every nook and cranny of life - if we allow peace to rule.
Admittedly, there are times in life when an umpire seems like a good idea because many of us relish a good fight. We say we want peace, but not at the price of giving up control or surrendering personal agendas. We must stand firm in our resolve to pursue harmony and peace, even if it means giving up rights and yielding control.
Relationships must be committed to peace. It is difficult to wage war with someone who has laid down their weapons in an act of surrender. Ah, there’s that dreaded word again - surrender. Surrender is the heart beat of peace. The choice to surrender initiates the process of allowing peace to rule. I guess you could say the peace of God is our “umpire” and in every situation and stands ready to make the calls that will lead us to rest in and trust Him – when we choose to let peace rule. The work of peace is always unleashed by our choices which invite the Holy Spirit to work in and through us.
Choose to be obedient.
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him (Colossians 3:16-17, NIV).
The lakes in Florida are beautiful, but relatively shallow as well. Over the years, they fill up with the silt and mire that wash off the shore. In time, they accumulate 2 to 3 feet of mire and decaying vegetation at the bottom. Soon that mire begins to deprive the lake, plants and fish of valuable oxygen and eventually the lakes literally die. In order to halt this process, a program has been put in place to drain the lakes periodically and expose the mire. After the mire is exposed, workers come in and dredge the mire – restoring the lake bottom to its original condition. The lake water can then be raised and soon the lake, its vegetation and fish are thriving again.
Our lives are much the same. We need to regularly expose and eliminate the "mire" or sin in our lives. The more we seek God, walk in obedience and nurture our relationship with Him, the stronger our peace will grow. When we have a personal relationship with God, we also have access to all of God’s power and all of God’s peace. How much power we receive from Him and how much peace we experience in Him depends upon how right our relationship is with Him.
Choose to be accountable.
Admonish one another with all wisdom (Colossian 3:16b, NIV).
“Admonish” literally means “to warn, to instruct or correct.” Paul is talking about obedience that is guarded by accountability. As John 14:23 (NCV) states, how much we love God is measured by how much we obey God. “Jesus answered, ‘If people love me, they will obey my teaching.’” Obedience is easier in an atmosphere of accountability.
Dan and I learned countless life lessons in ministry but one of the most important lessons was in the area of accountability. Hardly a week passes without a distressed phone call from some pastor or pastor’s wife, asking for help in their marriage, their ministry, or their personal lives. The problems ranged from drug addictions and alcoholism, to extra-marital affairs, prodigal children, mishandling church funds or…well, you name it! Every phone call serves as a reminder for us to be diligent in our efforts to maintain integrity. Wooden office doors at the church have been replaced with glass doors. We have a staff of professional counselors who handle the mounting demands and need for ongoing, personal counseling. Weekly staff meetings always include a time of holding each other accountable for time spent with children, dates with spouses as well as blunt conversations concerning potential temptations or struggles. Accountability is a hedge of protection that helps protect us from the storms and temptations in life.
After planting several pine trees in our front yard, I was concerned that they were not growing straight, even though we had planted them straight. One of our neighbors told me not to worry. “The winter winds are coming,” she explained. “The pines will grow against the wind and naturally straighten themselves while gaining strength to survive the winter.” Her words of plant-life-wisdom ring true for each one of us. Obedience and accountability encourage peace and strengthen us for the storms of life.
Father, I am weak and recognize my helplessness to be obedient without Your strength and power. I have sinned against You, Lord. I now confess that sin and choose to turn away from it. Thank You for the forgiveness and restoration I find in You.
In Jesus’ name,
Now It’s Your Turn
Spiritual maturity is not measured by how much we know. Spiritual maturity is measured by how much we do. The confession of sin is an important spiritual discipline we need to cultivate in order to grow in Christ. Read and memorize the following verses of Scripture:
But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8, NIV).
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive our sins and purify us from all our unrighteousness (1 John 1:9, NIV).
More from the Girlfriends
Need help? Mary’s book, Escaping the Stress Trap, is based on Psalm 23 and is a step-by-step plan for dealing with the stress in life and learning to truly trust God. Looking for a Bible study? Check out Mary’s E-Book Bible studies, How to Find Your Missing Peace and Winning the War with Temptation.
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how to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.