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Sunday, April 20, 2014

You Must Give Peace More than a Chance

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


Peace is the absence of conflict? I suppose we could say that because humanity does not know true peace. The truth is that there is no peace unless there is peace in your heart. Conflict may be present on the surface but peace prevails underneath.

For example: Who can say that the brutal arrest, beating and crucifixion of Jesus was peace as seen from those who watched it? But does that mean that Jesus had no peace in His heart? The peace in His heart never left Him. His peace was being at peace with His Father and His fellow man just as it is with us. He was willing to be beaten because of the peace which was in His heart. He was establishing peace even as He was crucified.

Sometimes people look at the words of Jesus toward the Pharisees and fail to see the peace in His heart. He was speaking to them in a way to bring them to His peace. He was speaking so that those who heard Him knew the price that must be paid for peace. Peace was in His heart and was at the center of His confrontation of these people.

I had to speak sternly to my children on the occasion of their disobedience when they were young. My heart was at peace and I wanted peace for them. Honestly, I wanted my children to live at peace when I would no longer be there to remind them. I didn't speak sternly to hurt them nor to bring animosity between them and me. I didn't speak to them thus to acerbate a distance between us. I was willing to allow them to feel emotionally hurt if it helped correct their behavior. I never stopped loving them nor did my desires for their good ever cease. I had peace in my heart nearly every time I spoke to them in this manner.

However, on a few occasions I allowed chaos rather than peace reign in my heart because I gave into the flesh and let my emotions speak rather than His Spirit. I apologized to my children for those times. My action toward them did not represent peace in my heart. I let the flesh reign rather than the peace of Christ.

This is an extremely mature attitude when others do not have peace in their hearts. Many times people want to draw you into their conflict because they disagree with you. They may not like what the Bible says and want to call you names (unloving, intolerant, etc.) because you have taken a stand. You can let peace fly out the window and meet them at their level of aggression or you can let peace reign and stay the course without withdrawing your desire to act in love.

You are not spinning a roulette wheel and hoping the little ball lands on peace. It takes a heart that is conditioned to act in peace before it acts in conflict. It takes a heart completely at peace with God and a commitment to be at peace with others. It takes the denial of the flesh that demands revenge for every wrong and domination in every challenge. it takes humility that does not reflect the flesh at all. It takes a character that reveals someone who is being formed into the image of Christ. It takes more than the peace that you can muster. It takes the peace that only He can give you. It is the peace of Christ.

It is easy to say you have the peace of Christ in your heart as long as everyone does as you please. It takes the real peace of Christ in your heart when they don't. It is more than giving peace a chance. It is determining to have the peace of Christ in your heart no matter what.


4 comments:

Anthony Chia said...

“... let the peace of Christ rule in your heart”; what is this peace of Christ? What is peace of Christ? About a year ago, I wrote this article, “The Holy Spirit is the Peace” (the link is: http://high-expressions.blogspot.sg/2013/05/the-holy-spirit-is-peace-john-1426-27.html). The revelation of that article is that the Holy Spirit is the Peace. The peace of God or peace of Christ can be said to be the Holy Spirit. Or to put it in another way, the peace of God or Christ is to be had from the Holy Spirit; He, the Holy Spirit, holds the key or is the key to the peace that surpasses all understanding.

So, “let the peace of Christ rule in your heart” can be restated as “let the Holy Spirit rule in your heart”. I encourage people to read the above article, the link of which I have provided, to grasp this revelation. How important is this revelation? So very important, for deep inside of each of us, there is the need of this peace, and need of it consistently.

Ps Prentis gave us a good definition of peace – absence of conflict. When we talk about conflict, then necessarily, there are 2 things in the picture. It is right, for there cannot be conflict in one (or oneness). We have a conflict when a minimum of 2 things are NOT in agreement or (the two) are NOT “seeing eye to eye”. There are different kinds of peace, but we are looking for the peace that surpasses all understanding or peace of Christ/God.

What do I mean by there are kinds of peace? For example, Mr A works as a salesman in a small company, and he is in agreement with his boss, the owner, concerning how they are to sell their products; there is no conflict between him and the boss (or owner), there is peace between them in this aspect; Mr A does NOT struggle in this. In this same example, if after some time, Mr A considers strongly, for the work he is doing, he should be paid more, but the boss thinks that Mr A is already being paid a commensurate pay (or a fair pay), Mr A is having a conflict with the boss, in this aspect, albeit NOT openly. Depending on how he deals with this conflict, his overall peace with the boss, and the overall peace of him, Mr A, can suffer or decline.

For the unregenerate man, his overall peace is a one-to-many scenario, but the different “other thing/party” (apart from that which is of his [the man], there is the other), can have different impact on the overall peace of the man. For the regenerate man, increasingly, his overall peace is to be converging to a persistent one-to-one scenario, meaning there is the one “other thing/party” that would overshadow everything else. This one “other thing/party” is none other than the Lord God. When there is absence of conflict between regenerate man and the Lord, there is the fullness of peace, a peace that surpasses all understanding; that is the peace of Christ. It is a peace that surpasses all understanding because when one has that fullness, he is one with the Lord; and no living person is in that perfect oneness with the Lord, I dare say; but that does NOT mean we are NOT to get close to that fullness.

Who holds the key to our getting to the “be one with the Lord” (apart from ourselves!)? It is the Holy Spirit whom God has given to indwell a believer. Post death and resurrection of Christ Jesus, He, the Holy Spirit, is the Emmanuel, the “God with us”. Christ no longer walks with the disciples in the “man-state”, but He is still with all disciples of His (all believers are disciples) by the Holy Spirit (who is also His Spirit or the Spirit of Christ).

cont...

Anthony Chia said...

cont. from above

People can have other kinds of peace, other than the peace of Christ, but when I say that, I do NOT mean literally, always (although, at times, it is so) that they are actually have a different spirit indwelling them, like the Holy Spirit is indwelling a believer. A believer has the Holy Spirit indwelling Him, and NOT instead of the Holy Spirit, some other kind of spirit. It is NOT “instead of”, but in addition to, the Holy Spirit, people can be having other spirit(s) inside of them; this condition is described as demon-possession.

So, bro Anthony, is it if I am NOT demon-possessed, I will have that fullness of peace? When we are demon-possessed, we will NOT have that peace that surpasses all understanding in any persistent basis; but it doesn’t mean if we are NOT (demon-possessed), we definitely have that peace, in fullness, persistently. It is because apart from direct demon-possession, there are 3 aspects we have to have understanding on, that can impact our overall peace.

One, the flesh we, believers, are having, are still fallen; the flesh that all of us are having is the fallen flesh (or still fallen) [that is why in Scripture, it was simply stated as the flesh]. The understanding from the Word is that there is no FULL redemption of the body in our mortal life. The full redemption of the body comes only when we, after-life, take on the incorruptible body.

By John the Baptist’s talking (in John 3) about himself only baptised with water, but Christ would baptise with fire (the Holy Spirit), after he had also said that he must decrease but Christ must increase, he (John) was saying was that what he was doing was NOT sufficient; in fact, he was only preparing the people for what Jesus would bring to the people. What did Jesus bring to us? The indwelling Holy Spirit or His Spirit – the Spirit of Christ.

It is the Holy Spirit who is going to be “counter” against the flesh which is still fallen. The (fallen) flesh continues to want to force its desires through, and if we let it has its way, rule, in our life, we would get back to our old ways which lead to death, but if we, instead, let the desires of the Holy Spirit through, and let the Spirit rule in our heart, we are going to continue in the path of life. The Apostle Paul talked about the conflict, which I commonly called it, the “tug-of-war” that goes in the life of a believer, where he is torn between the desires of the flesh and the desires of the Spirit (Holy Spirit). So, even when we are NOT demon-possessed, our overall peace depends on how we handle the opposing desires. The flesh is to decrease, and the Spirit is to increase.

Two, apart from working through the desires of the fallen flesh, Satan is also at work in the world, perpetuating his deceptive and wicked ways; and so, there is the world’s ways confronting man, trying to conform man to the ways of evil. A regenerate man is no longer of the world, but he is in the world, and so, he is still in the atmosphere of corruption and corrupted ways (ways of Satan). And so, there is again conflict, the ways of the Spirit, and the ways of the world; and how we handle this, impacts our overall peace. The prescription is the same – we are to embrace the ways of God/Spirit, and NOT those of the (fallen) world.

cont...

Anthony Chia said...

cont. from above

The prescription is NOT unclear – listen to the Holy Spirit, and so, He, the Holy Spirit, is the key to the peace of Christ, the peace that surpasses all understanding. Why the Holy Spirit can be the key? It is because He knows the mind of God, and so, He, though, is with us (indwelling us), is in perfect unity with the Godhead. How about the Word, is it NOT the key? Yes, the Word is, too; but before the Spirit was given, it was only the Word, but now we have the Spirit, and Jesus Himself said that the Spirit does NOT “ditch out” from his own, but from Him, Jesus, whom the Father God has given all things over to, the Spirit is the key. The Spirit does NOT contradict the Word; in fact, the logos Word becomes rhema by the Holy Spirit. As I have said, the prescription is NOT unclear – listen to the Holy Spirit, but to do that, requires our exercise of volition to listen to the Spirit, all the time (NB: our volition is NOT taken away from us, upon our salvation). So, the conflicting desires of the flesh and those of the Spirit impact our overall peace, if we handle NOT, the conflict, correctly.

Three, there may be many roads to Rome, but there is only one way to the peace that surpasses all understanding or peace of the fullest. What is this one way? Truth.

Truth is like this: Unless you are truth, truth will contend with you, unless you are in agreement with it or one with it. Unless you are larger than truth, truth will do that to you, and you just cannot win, or we say ultimately truth will catch up with you, fully, if it is NOT in your mortal life, eventually, in after-life. Unless you are larger than truth, truth will have his ways, regardless you believe it or NOT.

And some truths are more “pervasive” than others! For example, gravitational force can be said as a truth. If you step off a tall building, you can try to stay up in the air, but gravity will contend with you, and you will soon end up on the ground, and we can know what the consequence of contending with that truth, is. And this is regardless you believe it or NOT, that you will fall to the ground; you will fall to the ground! This truth is NOT that pervasive, in that if you do the same, step off a mount in outer space, like on the moon, that truth does NOT apply there. An example of a pervasive truth is Jesus’ death on the Cross can be the atonement for your sins. This truth, even if you exercise it in outer space, it is still valid; and it will contend with you, even if you no longer live on earth but in a colony in outer space. When I say truth will contend with us, it is NOT truth is losing peace, we are; it is actually truth just stands, we are the one contending with it, and so, we are the ones losing peace.

Who is Truth? God is. Who set truths? God sets truths or the Truth sets truth. People got to understand that truth got to do with who/which is more pervasive and who is “larger”, and so, who is ultimately in control. Who is ultimately in control? God, the Truth. Unless we are God, you and I cannot contend with God; we need to agree with God, the Truth, and when we do that, we will be having that fullness of peace.

When we understand peace this way, we then know we are kidding ourselves if we think we can have persistent peace if we listen NOT to the Holy Spirit, obeying Him (what He wants to do) NOT, obeying the Word, NOT, and live righteously, NOT.

cont...

Anthony Chia said...

cont. from above

Bro Anthony, I thought when I accepted Jesus Christ I would have the peace of Christ-what? Yes, I did NOT say you have NOT the peace of Christ or the peace from that reconciliation back to God; but you know if your overall peace has dissipated somewhat or NOT. Now, if you are saying, God has to maintain that peace in you and you have no part to play, is it NOT then, it would NOT dissipate, for God cannot be failing in what He has to do? And really, there is NOT need of such exhortation as “let the peace of Christ rule in your heart, for if it is all God’s part, it is superfluous for Scripture (or the Apostle Paul) to tell you something you don’t have to do anything about! That, Col 3:15 has the “let the peace of Christ rule in your heart”, and “And (you) be thankful”; it is ridiculous for people to think “be thankful” is something for us to do, but the “let the peace of Christ rule in our heart” is NOT something for us to do. It is telling God what to do?!

Romans 14:17-18 tells us that the Kingdom of God is about righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. It is about that. That righteousness is righteousness according to God. Who has this (righteousness) or knows the mind of God? The Holy Spirit. Our best bet to be right and live right, is to have the Holy Spirit rule us, lead us to do what He considers are the things to do. In what the Holy Spirit does, there is peace and joy coming from it, for the Spirit does NOT do anything that God (and Himself, too) does NOT desire. This is how righteousness and peace and joy in the Spirit is “tied together”.

The peace and joy of the Spirit is shed abroad in our heart when we agree with the Holy Spirit, and when we cooperate with Him to do what He wants to do. The peace (and joy) of Christ comes from the Holy Spirit, and so, we can call Him, the Holy Spirit, the Peace (of Christ), and His peace (and joy) we WILL experience it from our agreement and our doing from agreement.

Remember, we talked about, for the regenerate man, increasingly his overall peace is to be converging to a persistent one-to-one scenario, and that one “other thing/party” is the Lord God or Truth. Because the Holy Spirit is the one knowing the mind of God, and is indwelling us, He, the Holy Spirit is the “other thing/party” to that one-to-one scenario. All the others of the “other thing/party”, they have to be down-prioritised, as we up-prioritise the Holy Spirit. In other words, we resolve all conflicts in life against what the Spirit (who has the truths) is saying to us. Even when it means setback for us, even when it means hardship to us, and even when it means sacrifice on our part. Honestly, we can do that, only if we truly believe God is in control, ultimately, and nothing escapes God, and when we are for God or Truth, God will ultimately comfort us, if NOT in this life, in after-life. By the way, the Holy Spirit is also called the Comforter; and if the Holy Spirit is the Comforter, God is too, and so, how can we NOT be comforted ultimately, if we conform to who He is.

Anthony Chia, high.expressions