I was drawn to this statement in the Bible; and let the peace of God rule in your hearts (Colossians 3:15). We live in a world of conflict and turmoil, not only on a mega scale but more importantly for us, on a personal level. Let’s admit it – our lives are more often chaotic than peaceful.
Yet as Christians we are told, not just to have God’s peace, not just to live in God’s peace but to let God’s peace rule our lives. That means that God’s peace is to direct our lives, to control our lives. This particular word also has the idea of being the umpire in our lives. When we are faced with circumstances that have the potential to send us into an emotional, spiritual tailspin, we are to let God’s peace act as the umpire; to say yes or no; to determine our actions. There’s no question how it (He) will rule every time.
But that’s the theoretical/theological. What about the practical? What do we need to do so that God’s peace is the directing force in our lives, especially in times of personal conflict? The context gives us some guidance.
First we need to understand that as Christians we have to handle life in a radically different way. Verses 8-9 tell us how we are not to respond to life – with anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language and lying, while verses 12-14 tell us how we are to respond: put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering, bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do. But above all these things put on love. Wow! How hard is that going to be? Very.
Handling life with mercy, kindness, humility, patience and forgiveness won’t be easy and we will often fail. That’s why God included this encouragement in the Bible. If we always responded to life this way or if it was an easy thing to do, we wouldn’t need to be reminded. It’s precisely because we are prone to fail that God encourages us to try harder.
I can hear the objections already – so-and-so won’t let up, they continue to make my life miserable. That’s where Romans 12:18 comes into play; if it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. You won’t answer for how they handle life – only for how you handle it. You do the right thing no matter what they do. That’s all God expects.
Back to Colossians 2. My second observation is this: Having the peace of God in our lives is a choice. Notice the text; and let the peace of God rule in your hearts. It’s a command. Whenever the Bible gives us a command we have the option of either doing it or not doing it. It’s our choice. You choose when you decide to live in verses 12-14 instead of verses 8-9.
That brings me to my final observation. It’s the Word of God that the Spirit of God uses in our lives to help us live in a way that results in peace. Verse 16 brings this out when it says; let the Word of Christ dwell in you abundantly in all wisdom. It’s not a matter of picking up the Bible whenever we face conflict and reading a chapter or two (although that’s not a bad idea). It’s being so immersed in the Word of God that when conflict arises we respond in a Godly way even if it takes us awhile to get there. When you do that you know that you are responding in all wisdom.
Is it really possible to have peace in life? The answer is Yes – but we have to approach life God’s way. Will it be easy? No. Will it require hard work? Yes. Will it mean that we have to reorient the way we think? Probably. Will it be worth it? You decide.
Stay in the Word