I will do all that I can to live in peace with others.
Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone.
Father God, your word is so plain in instructing us that we should do all that we can to live in peace with everyone. But God, what exactly does that look like?
Please open our ears to hear your voice, so that we may heed you when you prompt us to pursue peace in our relationships. Keep us from stewing in our own pride and selfishness. Keep us from recounting offenses. Keep us from rehearsing rebuttals.
Move our hearts toward peace by filling our hearts with more of you, so that we may live in peace with everyone.
In the Strong Name of Jesus, Amen.
Have you ever focused on one point of Scripture and felt totally at a lost understanding the meaning and application? Take this verse, for example.
Live. In. Peace. With. Others.
Oh help us, Sweet Jesus!
If you’re the type who rolls easily along, this command from God is not such a big deal. But for someone like me, who rolls like a square log . . . thump, thump, thump . . . it feels impossible. That’s not to say I don’t crave peace. I do want peace to permeate all my relationships. Yet more often than not, I find myself in the middle of a conflict. For the life of me, I can’t figure out why. Can you relate?
Maybe it’s a personality thing, in that I don’t mind speaking my mind. Maybe it’s a spiritual gifting, in that my sense of discernment causes me to bring attention to matters someone else may not notice. Or maybe, I find myself in conflict because I’m not heeding the other portions of Scripture leading up to and following this particular verse from Romans 12. Take a look at it in context:
Romans 12:9-13 NLT
Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good. 10 Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other. Never be lazy, but work hard and serve the Lord enthusiastically. Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying. When God’s people are in need, be ready to help them. Always be eager to practice hospitality.
Do you see all the “how to” instructions for what it takes to live in peace? Even though we are to hate what is wrong and hold tightly to what is good, we also have to love each other with genuine affection and honor one another. Ahem, no sarcasm. No biting words. We have to be patient and prayerful, willing to help in times of need and practice hospitality with everyone. By doing so, we set the stage for peace.
This next verse pack an even more powerful punch:
Romans 12:14 NLT
Bless those who persecute you. Don’t curse them; pray that God will bless them.
How about this modern translation: Bless those who make us miserable. Oh yes! And go the distance to not curse them but pray for them. It’s a totally counter-cultural approach and opposite from the nature of our flesh. Instead of fighting back, we are called to blessing and prayer. How? But by the grace of God, as we press on to embrace these instructions:
Romans 12:15-18 NLT
Be happy with those who are happy, and weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with each other. Don’t be too proud to enjoy the company of ordinary people. And don’t think you know it all! Never pay back evil with more evil. Do things in such a way that everyone can see you are honorable. Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone.
It’s not too hard to be happy with the happy and weep with those weeping. But, oh my, how we all can be so darn arrogant or uppity-up about who we should spend time with. Our tendency is not toward kindness and honor, but revenge, as these next verses describe.
Romans 12:19-21 NLT
19 Dear friends, never take revenge. Leave that to the righteous anger of God. For the Scriptures say, “I will take revenge; I will pay them back,” says the Lord. 20 Instead, “If your enemies are hungry, feed them. If they are thirsty, give them something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals of shame on their heads.” 21 Don’t let evil conquer you, but conquer evil by doing good.
Yes, God gives us so many practical ways to strive towards living in peace with those we do life with every day and with those who are just awful to us.
But true peace it is only possible if we heed the call by submitting to the Spirit’s leading and allow the fullness of Jesus to manifest in our lives.
In our flesh, we’ll fail. But through the power of Christ at work in our hearts and minds, we can embrace this call. Since He is the Prince of Peace, why not give Him full access to do His work in our lives rather than struggling to manifest a peace in ourselves that will never compare?
As you consider the different ways God instructs to strive after peace, which point do you feel He is calling you to focus on this week?
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