Called to Peace

by Scarlett Stough

Peace does not come naturally to us (Isaiah 59:8). Yet we as Christians are “called to peace (Colossians 3:15)” and exhorted to “live in peace (II Corinthians 13:11). We all want peace, and by that we usually mean no friction between us and others, no situations that cause worry over our future comfort, and everything we plan is working out just the way we want them to work out.

But God’s definition of peace is a little different from ours. He knows there will be friction; there will be times of trouble and discomfort; and for reasons only God knows, we do not get everything we want (Luke 12:49-53; John 16:33; James 4:15; I Peter 1:6-7).

The peace God gives is produced by his Spirit within us (Galatians 5:22) so we can pursue peace in our relationships. Peace with God was purchased by his Son on our behalf (Romans 5:6-11). Because God made a way for peace with us, we are asked to strive for peace with each other. This peace requires us to put the interests of others above our own selfish interests (Philippians 2:3-4).

In the portion of Colossians (3:18-4:1) we are studying in this issue, we are given instruction to help us to live in peace in our families and in our workplaces. The Zondervan NIV Study Bible note on Ephesians 5:21 states, “Relationships among Christians, within Christian families and churches, begin with an attitude of reverence for Christ, allowing him to mediate peace.”

Submission, love, gentleness, obedience, encouraging rather than crushing another’s spirit along with doing everything to please God, whether anyone else is looking or not, are the qualities we are asked to practice. Just like me, I bet you got stopped with the word “submit” in Colossians 3:18. The reason we stop and resist this word is due to a misunderstanding of what it means to submit. It is translated from a Greek word which originally had a military use, “but in non-military use, it was a voluntary attitude of giving in, cooperating, assuming responsibility, and carrying a burden.”*

Submission is a quality every Christian is asked to develop (Ephesians 5:21). Love is produced by the Holy Spirit and expressed in our treatment of one another. Children are instructed to obey their parents. Parents are instructed to avoid discouraging their children which could lead them into becoming angry people. Although in no way does God condone slavery, those who worked as slaves were to do their work to please God; slave owners who became Christians were warned to treat the people they owned the way they would like God to treat them.

This short passage is only a brief overview of how to create peaceful relationships which can be boiled down to Christ’s exhortation: “So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets (Matthew 7:12).”

*The New Strong’s Expanded Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible.

For the Scripture References and related Bible Study Guide, go to Bible Study Guide: Reverence for the Lord.

Volume 11 Issue 4 | Notes from Nancy | Women in Christ Commentary | Bible Study Guide | Abundance of the Heart | Exhortation | Book Review

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