Thursday, August 05, 2010

Knowing Peace

Colossians 3:15 And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful.

15 καὶ ἡ εἰρήνη τοῦ Χριστοῦ βραβευέτω ἐν ταῖς καρδίαις ὑμῶν, εἰς ἣν καὶ ἐκλήθητε ἐν ἑνὶ σώματι· καὶ εὐχάριστοι γίνεσθε.

This is one of those verses kind of sandwiched between two sections.  Paul had just finished admonishing the Colossians about the things that they must stop doing.  He's about to get into exhortations for wives to submit to husbands, husbands to love wives, and children to obey.  But here we have sort of a creamy center in this theological Oreo.

There is an old bumper sticker that reads, "Know Jesus, know peace.  No Jesus, no peace."  It may be reversed, but you get the idea.  There is a lot of truth packed into that pithy statement.  There is no true peace apart from Jesus.

"But," you may protest, "what about those holy men high up on mountains in places like Tibet?  Surely they had a peace, right?"  I would disagree with that because it would be inconsistent with their beliefs.  Yes, they are seeking peace through emptiness.  However, it is still a works-based system.  They hope that they live their lives well enough and empty themselves enough that they can break the circle of reincarnation, enter Nirvanna, or whatever.  They are still trying their best to earn favor with God/the cosmos/Brahama/etc.

Frankly, a lot of professing Christians live in the same way.  We try our best under a thinly-veiled legalism.  We think that if we have enough quiet times, tithe enough, serve enough, or whatever then we will be saved.  But that just leads to greater anxiety.  Believe me, I've been there.  Instead, we are to let the peace of Christ rule in our hearts.  We were called to Him.  Enjoy that!  Enjoy the peace that comes from being part of that ἑνὶ σώματι.  Then Paul commands us to εὐχάριστοι γίνεσθε.  The word γίνεσθε is an imperative commanding us to be something.  What are we to be?  Thankful.

This means that an anxious Christian is an oxymoron.  There is no place for habitual anxiety in the Christian's heart.  To be anxious is to be disobedient.  Obviously we all have things that cause us stress.  Do we spiral down with those anxieties or do we get back to the clear teaching of Scripture?

I realize that this is easier said than done.  But the good news is that we have a powerful, gracious God who transforms men's hearts.  I pray that He would transform mine.  Will you join me in praying for peace?

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