Archive | October, 2012

Month 3: Peace

8 Oct

Well, I took a month hiatus from formally blogging and pursuing my challenge (due to a hectic September) but now I’m back at it.

I have to say, the “joy” challenge wasn’t as challenging as I expected- I guess that could be because I was being self-righteous, but I honestly think (and hope!) that it was because joy is something that comes naturally for me.  That doesn’t seem like a completely illogical conclusion- EVERYONE has their weaknesses, but everyone has their strengths, too.  For my mom, perseverance is definitely a strength; for my dad, it’s peace.  One of mine might be joy- I am naturally optimistic and I don’t like to harbor negative emotions.  There is absolutely a time for sadness or for anger, and we need to find healthy ways to express and deal with those feelings.  There are times when we feel irritable or edgy, but God gives us grace to deal with it and not take it out on others.  I don’t like to grumble or complain; I want to be thankful for what I have in the present moment.

So, this month…Peace.

This is a confusing one for me.  What does the Bible mean by “Peace?”  When I think of peace, I think of something external- like a calm day with no wind, or people living harmoniously.  Well, obviously, God doesn’t expect us to control the weather or other people, so that’s not what He’s talking about here.  I don’t think He is talking about patience or longsuffering, either (two things I associate with “peace”) because those are two other fruits, and I don’t think He would repeat Himself.

Some other mentions of “Peace” in the Bible:
Romans 14, vs 13, 17, 19 “Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in your brother’s way…For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit…Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification.”

Some things are worth fighting for…and some things just aren’t.  My relationships with others should reflect the Kingdom of God, not judgement.  I should seek to preserve relationships, not religion.  I could write a very, very long blog here about verses with commands to keep the peace within the body of Christ- of course, there are also verses that command us to speak the Truth in love or turn a sinner from the error of his ways, but, ultimately, God is far more glorified when we live in peace with our brothers and sisters than when we fight over petty issues, especially those based on man-made theology rather than Biblical truth.

John 14:27 “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 16:33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

The ultimate peace is not an external one.  It is the peace that only Christ can give us, knowing that the eternity He promised to those who believe lies ahead, and knowing He will never leave us nor forsake us.  When we have this peace from within, and it isn’t diminished by what’s going on around us, it reflects in our lives.  People who worry about ridiculous things, or who like being stressed out and want to make sure everyone else is stressed, too, don’t have this kind of peace.

Do I know when to stand my ground and when to let things go for the sake of unity?  Am I concerned about judging others, or loving them?  Does my life reflect the peace that Jesus gives me, or do I wear people out with my constant worrying?

This one might not come as naturally as joy did. Lord, take this month and show me how to have peace, the kind of peace that brings unity and reflects You in me!!