Towards a Lasting Peace

“How good and pleasant it is when brothers live together in unity!” -Psalm 133:1 (NIV)

All of us desire peace. We want to be at that place in our lives when we are at peace with those around us. Yet at times the peace that we hope Google+Photoand yearn for proves to be elusive. In our sinful impulses and human failings, we quarrel over things which have no real consequence, say things that we do not really mean, and act in a regrettable manner towards others. When we see the damaging effects of our petulant behavior we know that this is not meant to be the way in which we must live. That is what motivates our quest for peace; the cherished calm and joy which comes from living with one another in harmony.

However, if we try to cultivate that peace through our own wisdom and efforts it will not last. As long as sin continues to exhibit a hold on our lives, serenity will continue to slip away from our grasp. The source of strife is our sinful nature. It is what compels us to act in ways which ultimately fail to bring us peace. Our only cure is when we allow Christ to reside in our hearts; accepting His redemptive sacrifice for us and permitting Him to break the chains that sin holds in our lives. When we make that choice to submit our attitudes and thoughts to Him, He will fill us with His everlasting peace. By resting in the peace which Christ gives us, only then will we be able to dwell with each other in love and unity. He will give us His Spirit of discernment to choose our words carefully and act according to His righteousness through His enabling. When we choose to step outside His perfect will and fail to allow Him to take reign over our thoughts and actions, we will not find peace either with ourselves or with others. But when we choose to live in accordance with Christ, we will be able to live in harmony with those around us; bearing witness to the assured hope of the human race being restored through Him.

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.

Making Things Right

“Fools mock at making amends for sin, but goodwill is found among the upright.” -Proverbs 14:9 (NIV)

What does it mean to make amends? It is a two-fold action. First there is an acknowledgement that we have done something wrong and that weGoogle+Photo are at fault. The second step is to seek reconciliation by practically showing the offended party that you are repentant and that you wish to make things right. But how hard it is for us to even take that first step! In a world where humanity seeks to do whatever it wishes heedless of the consequences, we want to hide the fact that every sinful action comes with a responsibility that we must bear. Our pride wants to deny that we have done wrong and we come up with a variety of excuses to justify our behavior. However, underneath the surface we know that we are not innocent and that we need to mend that which is broken.

We are called to live in peace and harmony with one another. But we have created a superficial peace if we have simply ignored issues between each other. Like a ticking time bomb, we will pay the consequences for letting grievances simmer in the hearts of those whom we have offended. Christ has called His children to stand up for His truth and that means admitting that we have sinned before God and against others. He has also called His children to take responsibility for the wrongs we have committed and make things right. Just as how through His death we are reconciled to God, so to we must seek to be reconciled to others when we are guilty of sin. When we seek to be made right with those around us, we bear witness to Christ’s righteousness working within our hearts. Our decision to seek amends draws attention to the fact that we serve a God who takes sin seriously and does not wish to see it separate people from Himself and from each other. We might claim that this is a task beyond our capabilities. But only through Christ’s indwelling within our lives and our submission to His will can our prideful spirit be broken. Once this spirit has been shattered, Christ will strengthen and enable us to take those steps necessary for true peace and harmony to flow.

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.

How To Live In Peace

“When a man’s ways are pleasing to the Lord, he makes even his enemies live at peace with him.” -Proverbs 16:7 (NIV)

It can be exasperating dealing with particularly difficult people. In our eyes, it seems that they are bent on not giving us a moment’s peace; Google+Photodeliberately trying to cause conflict in order to sabotage the already tense relationship we share with them and arouse our ire. The worst thing we could do however is to allow our rage to take reign over our thoughts and actions. Not only will we serve to be contributors to disunity and strife, but it will blemish our witness for Christ. We must always be aware of the fact that in our actions and reactions, we bear witness to Christ living within us. True peace will not flourish if we have permitted sin to taint our anger and indignation.

How then are we to live in peace with those around us? Dwelling in harmony with those whom we consider our enemies seems like an impossibility that will never be realized. But when we listen to Christ’s Spirit living within us, allowing Him to help us live in a manner that is fitting of one who is His child, He will guide our thoughts and actions in such a way as to display His love and righteousness through us. If we try to create peace by attempting to live according to Christ’s example and His teachings through our own efforts and strength, we will fail. His standard on how His children should act in love and forgiveness is too lofty for us to attain because our flawed human nature dictates that if our enemy takes out our eye, we should take out not only his eye but his leg too! Only when we allow Christ to enter into our hearts and break sin’s hold over our lives will we be able to live as children of Christ through His enabling. People may be relentless in their antagonism towards us. But when we choose to remain in Christ, allowing Him to purge us of any malicious attitudes we may have and guide our thoughts, words, and actions, our adversaries will not be able to remain justified in their anger. When they see Christ’s love and grace overflowing from our lives, they will slowly see that no weapon of theirs can overcome the goodness that is Christ our Lord. They will be drawn to the restorative work that He is doing in our lives, and can do for them as well if they choose to seek after Him.

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.