by Santosh Poonen
Every year the world recognizes individuals who are notable for their efforts toward peace, and awards them the Nobel Peace Prize. This prestigious prize has been awarded since 1901 to many famous social, religious, and political leaders – from Mother Theresa, to Bishop Desmond Tutu and the 14th Dalai Lama, to a few US Presidents, including Teddy Roosevelt, Jimmy Carter, and Barack Obama. It’s clear, then, that the world values peace very highly.
Jesus too, valued peace very highly. One of the most common greetings He used with His disciples was, “Peace be with you.”
But, was He talking about a “Nobel Peace Prize” type of peace making? The answer is quite clear from one of His parting words to His disciples: “Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you” (John 14:27).
The difference may not be immediately apparent. But, over time, the earthly peace deteriorates and eventually dies out completely, as is evident in many of the “Peace Treaties” that have been signed. Jesus’ peace, by contrast, is unchanging and eternal – God’s very Nature!
Think about this when you face a conflict with another person, and desire to live at peace with them as much as it lies with you (Romans 12:18). Do you make peace by avoiding them, or thinking of ways to “appease” them, or inviting them to coffee to broker a negotiated agreement, or writing a letter in self-defense, etc.? Any peace obtained by these human negotiations will not last.
Instead, the secret to being a true peacemaker is to “let the peace from Christ act as umpire continually in your heart, deciding and settling with finality all questions that arise in your mind” (Colossians 3:15 AMP). When a foul occurs in a basketball game, the referee’s whistle stops play immediately. The foul must then be dealt with before play can continue. Likewise, when any unrest comes up in your mind and you hear the whistle, stop immediately, let the Holy Spirit deal with the issue in your mind, and only then go on with your day.
When we thus allow the peace of Christ to be the referee in our hearts, the result is that that inner spiritual fruit of peace, like salt, acts as a preservative of peace in relationships around us (Mark 9:50), and of the unity of the Spirit in the Body (Ephesians 4:3).
The Church needs such peacemakers. They won’t get medals for it. But, they’ll be called something far greater – “the sons of God” (Matthew 5:9)!
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