A BODY OF PEACE – A BODY AT PEACE – PART ONE
Ever trip over your own feet? I have. One time it resulted in breaking my collar bone. At times like that, it seems like my body isn’t working together in harmony – like my feet decided to take a path that my mind wasn’t directing them to go and it created a problem for the whole body. This is a warning to pay attention to where I am going instead of being distracted by other things – like my phone (as in the broken collar bone incident).
On a more serious note, lupus, an autoimmune disease, is literally one’s own body turning on itself and attacking its own tissues and organs. The function of the immune system is supposed to be protecting the body from outside attack. The result of lupus, and diseases like it, is a lot of suffering for the body at war with itself.
Whereas tripping over one’s own feet when jogging is a one-time incident that can be corrected easily, an autoimmune disease is a much more serious issue and not so easily corrected. It may require a life-long fight unless God intervenes and heals the person.
Is your body at peace or at war?
Colossians 3:15 [NIV] says, Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.
Do you attend a congregation that has peace at its core – as the thing that makes it a body of believers? Is it true of the entire organization? Is there never any back-biting or gossip among the members? No struggles for power and control?
We were called to be a body of peace – a body at peace – but that peace among the body of believers must begin with peace ruling in our hearts. If I don’t have peace in my own individual heart, how can I generate peace and live at peace externally? Because the church is just a body made up of individual believers, a lack of internal, individual peace is often where the trouble begins for the greater body of believers.
This week, I’d like to focus on internal peace. Next time, I’ll focus on peace in the body of believers.
How do we have internal peace? Psalm 119:165 [ESV] tells us, Great peace have those who love your law; nothing can make them stumble. Nothing will cause us to stumble when we have a genuine love of the law of God.
I feel it is important to remind us of Jesus’ words in Matthew 22:36-40 [ESV] 36 "Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?" 37 And he said to him, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the great and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. 40 On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets."
Everything about God’s law (and about the prophesies of the Bible) is about love for us and the love we should have for Him and our fellow man. So, if my life is not peaceful because the world around me is not peaceful – if I live in a warzone or am suffering with cancer or facing financial trials – I can still have internal peace if I have internalized God’s law of love.
One more practical piece of advice from God’s word on how to have internal peace in a troubled world can be found in Philippians 4:6-8 [NIV] 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. 8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things.
I must ask myself, what am I thinking about? Are my thoughts focused on what is right with my life or what is wrong? Am I thinking about the beauty of my yard and garden or about that one brown spot that just won’t grow grass?
So often I find myself, looking at and thinking about that brown spot in my life instead of the lush green beauty of the rest of my life. That is just wrong. And, I believe it can be a sin.
I absolutely does lead to being anxious instead of being thankful.
Nobody wants a body at conflict with itself. To have internal peace, I must build my knowledge of and understanding of God’s law of love and I must focus my mind on the good, pure, true, right, lovely, noble and admirable.
I’ll leave you with this blessing found in Numbers 6:24-26 [ESV] 24 The LORD bless you and keep you; 25 the LORD make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; 26 the LORD lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.
In Part Two, I’ll focus more on a church at peace.
I welcome your comments and questions. You can write me at Nancy@DynamicChristianMinistries.org.