Thursday, January 24, 2013

Waging Peace

Along the River Raisin in Monroe

Every Jesus-follower is to desire and work for peace. Because God is a God of peace, Jesus himself is our peace, and peace is part of the fruit of the Spirit that grows out of a life that abides in Christ.

I'm speaking on some major "peace" verses this Sunday at Redeemer - Ephesians 2:11-22. This passage is about peace and unity with God, and peace and unity with brothers and sisters in Christ. Such things are very good, and describe life "in Christ." Indeed, God pours out His blessing and manifests His presence in Spirit-produced unitive conditions. We read:

How wonderful, how beautiful,
    when brothers and sisters get along!
It’s like costly anointing oil
    flowing down head and beard,
Flowing down Aaron’s beard,
    flowing down the collar of his priestly robes.
It’s like the dew on Mount Hermon
    flowing down the slopes of Zion.
Yes, that’s where God commands the blessing,
    ordains eternal life.

-Psalm 133:1-3 (The Message)

Peacemakers are blessed, said Jesus. Note: not peace-lovers. Who doesn't love the absence of conflict? (Amazingly, some people are so spiritually off track that they love conflict, start wars, and thrive off them.)

The apostle Paul wrote much about peace. For example, Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification. (Romans 14:19) I know this is why Linda and I try to rescue conflict-filled marriages. The Real Jesus is a Peacemaker, a Reconciler, whereas satan is a destroyer and divider. God joins things together; satan works to separate what God joins.

This is hard work, since much of our American culture works against peace, and profits from the conflict of others. Our media would be out of business if wars and scandals ceased. The psalmist lamented this when he wrote:

Too long have I lived
    among those who hate peace.
I am for peace;
    but when I speak, they are for war.

- Ps. 120:6-7

How shall we wage peace today? Here's what I am doing.

First, I will abide in Christ.

I shall make this my focus.

As I do I am promised, by Jesus, that he will give me his peace, which is not a peace like our world gives. (John 14:27)

Second, as I connect with Jesus, I'm asking him to give me a peace-making heart. Change my heart, O God, into the heart of Christ.

The result is that, more and more, the Spirit-fruit of peace grows in me. It is a peace that is beyond me. It is a peace that transcends human understanding