As we have seen, living and working with others will naturally require us to bear each other’s burdens, forgive one another and love each other. It also requires that we learn how to disagree and work through our problems.
The key to this is peace. In Colossians 3:15, Paul writes: ‘Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace.’
Peace is not merely the absence of strife; it is the presence of harmony. And peace is not merely a concept, such as not harming someone. The songwriter John Lennon famously wrote: ‘all we are saying is give peace a chance.’ This has always failed because the notion of peace itself is simply an idea.
Notice what Paul wrote: ‘Let the peace of Christ rule…’ The idea of peace is not what solves conflict; it is the peace of Jesus that provides the power to live and work in harmony.
What is the peace of Jesus? It is “the peace that belongs to his kingdom by virtue of his sovereignty.” Jesus rules and reigns over all: all creation, all humanity and all history. When we step into his reign (the kingdom of God) we step into his peace. We can now live in constant interaction with Jesus, and because of his protection, guidance and provision, we have nothing to fear and can live with sheer confidence. In the kingdom of God we are safe, secure, valued and assured that God is with us.
Strife is often the result of people latching onto their position or argument as if their value depended on it. The focus is taken off Jesus and his kingdom and another issue is allowed to become more important. For the peace of Christ to rule in a community, it must first rule in the hearts of the individuals who compose it: we immerse ourselves in the reality and glory of God’s rule and reign. Then we receive the peace of Christ, a peace that the world cannot give, a peace that surpasses all understanding.
Jesus offers me his peace, the peace found in living under the rule and reign of God. When this rules in my heart, I live in peace with myself, and with everyone I interact with.
Gracious Abba, I so badly need your peace. I need it in my own heart, and I need it in the many relationships I have. Help me to see and feel your presence and power, your protection and provision, and to live in peace and harmony with everyone, even when we disagree. Amen.
How can you let the peace of Christ rule in your heart today?