In this contentious and ever argumentative world, it’s difficult to seek peace in every situation. But the key here is found in a verse in Hebrews 12:14, ” Make every effort to live in peace with all men and be holy.” Being holy means we live in a spiritual atmosphere where grace and mercy abounds despite the hostile environment around us. It’s where we consider others before ourselves and strive to be a peacemaker not a rabble-rouser.
We can’t force others into peaceful co-existence with us…we can only control how we react and behave around angry people. You know the ones…people with huge chips on their shoulders…always thinking the world is out to get them. It takes a conscious decision of the will on our part not to take the bait when attacked. It takes lots of deep breaths and determination not to lower ourselves down to that level…and sometimes, it takes just walking away for a few minutes to regain our composure and pray. “Lord, help me look past the angry hostility and see rather the hurt, the fear, the frustration. Allow me Lord to see this person through Your eyes and how I may show Your love to them.” Amen
We are to live in harmony with all. Not with just those we like…not with those who only believe as we do. No, we are to live in peaceful co-existence with everyone. Jesus came preaching the Gospel of Peace, not that of elitism, isolation, or hatred. It’s a tough road though to love your neighbor as yourself…for many around us are unlovable. That’s why the second part of this verse is so important. We may not be able to change the unlovable around us, but we can change ourselves and how we interact with them. Sanctification or holiness is the ongoing process of becoming more like Christ Jesus everyday…of looking at all people – even the unlovable- through His eyes.
You may know someone…it might even be yourself that’s developed this fateful disease know as Foot in Mouth. Some people are so affected, that the only time their foot comes out of their mouth – is to change socks! It takes wisdom and discipline not to just blurt out anything that comes to mind. It takes us thinking before we speak…is this appropriate?…is this kind?…will I regret saying this tomorrow? So much trouble and misery could be avoided if we’d just learn to think before we opened our mouth.
This promise that is Jesus, is that in Him, and by Him, and through Him we have freedom from anxiety and fear. He is the very Gospel of Peace that He spoke of to the multitudes. As He told us in John 14:27, “Peace I leave with you; My peace I give you.” Accept today this peace He offers you… and not only receive it, but then walk in it’s freedom.
This scripture shows perfectly the vast difference between the Old and New Covenant. No longer would we have to be instructed about the Lord, from someone who was also instructed about Him…now, we could experience Him personally, with no middleman. No longer would we only be able to read about His love and mercy…now, we could encounter it ourselves intimately from our loving Heavenly Father. No longer would we just gaze at a painting of God longingly, wishing to know Him better….now, with the Holy Spirit dwelling inside us, we have that unshakeable confidence of knowing Him profoundly. The New covenant… a covenant of peace, and personal relationship with the Prince of Peace.
The Jewish people had the old Covenant that had been given to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. But now it was being prophesied that a new Covenant would supersede it. This new Covenant came about in a very unconventional and unlikely way. No one could have imagined the little baby born in a stable in Bethlehem would be the author and finisher of this new Covenant…a Covenant of peace presided over by the Prince of Peace Himself.