Can we find Peace?

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. 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.” (Colossians 3:15-16 NIV)

Can we find peace in the world today? There are tensions between countries, there is civil unrest within our own country and there is ongoing fighting in places that I can’t even pronounce. So is peace that hard to find? If you are looking for the peace that means “freedom from or the cessation of war or violence” then you might not find it in this world. But let me tell you of a “peace that passes all understanding.” It is the Peace of Christ.

Jesus in speaking to his disciples in John 14 tells them, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” (John 14:27 NIV) The Peace of Christ is different than anything else. The verse above tells us to let this peace rule in your hearts. With Jesus as our savior we have the kind of peace that the world doesn’t understand. But the test of this peace is in the church. Let me explain…

When we accept Jesus as our Christ (Messiah or savior) we are placed into one body—His body, the church. Within the church we should find peace between one another with thankfulness for those who are in the body. Then we are to let the Word dwell in us. If the Word is not taught and encouraged among the members it is not going to demonstrate the peace that Christ offers. So how are we to accomplish this task? Look at the rest of the verse…

First we must use all wisdom; this wisdom comes from God’s Holy Spirit which abides in each believer. Then through music (the singing of psalms, hymns and spiritual songs) our hearts are drawn to Him. Finally this is all to be done with thanksgiving. When we get these things correct, then we are truly going to find the peace of Christ ruling in our lives. Try it this week as you attend a Bible teaching, worshipping congregation near you. That’s my point for today.

Set an example for the believers

“Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity.” (1 Timothy 4:12 NIV)  (This verse is the verse of the day (Oct. 26) from the Bible app YOUVERSION) 

I am aware that the Apostle Paul is writing this to a young pastor named Timothy.  I also am aware that not everyone is called to be a pastor.  I am aware that as a pastor I am to be held at a higher standard than those not in the pastorate (church leadership role).  But in my thinking this morning, I am wondering if this should apply to all followers of Jesus.  Maybe this ought to be the mission of each believer as we live out the Word of God today. 

When I was a teenager, I tried my hand at baking a cake by following the recipe (example, pattern).  It had abbreviations like c for cup and Tb for tablespoon.  There was one abbreviation that I was not sure of.  It was the letter v.  I will admit I am not a culinary genius but I thought I knew what the v stood for.  Vinegar, right?  I put in the amount of v called for in the example.  But it didn’t taste very good when it was all done. 

As we live our lives as followers of Jesus, we should set an example for our families, our church, and our community.  Here is the recipe (example, pattern) we should use: 

1.  Our speech should be one that doesn’t sound like the world (even abbreviations on face book).  If it walks like a duck and talks like a duck, it must be a duck.

2.  In life there are going to be some hard times coming our way.  How we handle those hard times will reveal how much we trust God.

3.  In love is not to be seen by how we love those who love us but how do we love those who mistreat us.

4.  In faith is the demonstration of our commitment to Christ and His church.

5.  Finally, in purity.  One translation uses the word integrity.  What is our life like when no one is looking?  The believer should live like Jesus every day. 

Let me encourage each of us by saying, we may not follow the recipe correctly all the time but we should do our best to follow the example set before us by Jesus.  Whether you are young in the faith or have been on this road for a long time, strive to live as that example for those around you.  That’s my point for today.