Dear friends in Christ Jesus,
The intention of today’s blog is to cheer our readers onward in striving to maintain peace within one’s heart even in the face of the most unfavourable circumstances.
Because the comfort and peace of the Church are dependent largely upon unity of the Spirit of the Lord in the various members.
Let us begin by sharing some glorious scriptures to refresh our minds about the sublime PEACE we are talking about:
- “Depart from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it” (Psalm 34:14).
- “Follow peace with all men and holiness without which no man shall see the Lord” (Hebrews 12:14).
- “The kingdom of GOD is not meat and drink, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit” (Romans 14:17).
- “Follow after the things which make for peace and things wherewith one may edify another” (Romans 14:19).
- “Live peaceably with all men” (Romans 12:18).
- “God is not the author of confusion, but of peace” (1 Corinthians 14:33).
- “God has called us to peace” (1 Corinthians 7:15).
- “Lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty” (1 Timothy 2:2).
- “The wisdom that is from above is first pure then peaceable” (James 3:17).
- “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee” (Isaiah 26:3).
- “When a man’s ways please the Lord, he maketh even his enemies to be at peace with him” (Proverbs 16:7).
- “Be at peace among yourselves” (1 Thessalonians 5:13).
- “Have peace one with another” (Mark 9:50).
- “The fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace” (James 3:18).
- “Follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart” (2 Timothy 2:22).
- “Let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also ye are called in one body” (Colossians 3:15).
- “Keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Ephesians 4:3).
- “Preach the gospel of peace” (Romans 10:15).
- “To be spiritually minded is life and peace” (Romans 8:6).
- “Love the truth and peace“ (Zechariah 8:19).
- “Great peace have they which love thy law, and nothing shall offend them” (Psalm 119:165).
- “The meek shall inherit the earth; and shall delight themselves in abundance of peace” (Psalm 37:11).
- “We, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness; wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot and blameless” (2 Peter 3:13, 14).
What have we done today to let this peace of God dwell within our hearts?
A possible answer might be — that we have just read the words from the Holy Bible.
YES dear friends!
Even if our flesh is overwhelmed by the storms of imperfection that surround us, we can enter into the shelter of the Most High (Psalm 91:1) when we quieten our minds from the turmoil and read, listen to, or recite, passages of holy Scripture.
We can renew our minds by submitting every thought and motive to be in conformity to the will of God, and fixing our eyes on Christ Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, and recalling how Jesus pleased the Heavenly Father through his loyal and faithful obedient even unto death.
By keeping a firm hold on the precious promises of the holy Scriptures, we keep our hope in Christ burning within our hearts.
“If there be any consolation [comfort] in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of spirit, if any bowels and mercies, fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same LOVE, being of one accord, of one mind.“
What exhortations to unity, peace, and brotherly kindness! They suggest patience, forbearance, gentleness, helpfulness, and comfort one to another in the Church. By this means, the Spirit of Christ may abound in all, for the greatest possible progress for all in the right way.
If only we can be worthy of the name Barnabas, “Comforter” of the brethren. If the holy Spirit abounds in us more and more (by our unceasing efforts as athletes in a race), then what pleasure we shall bring our Heavenly Father. With the holy Spirit dwelling in us richly, may we all be sons and daughters of comfort in Zion.
Togetherness in Christ
Many Scriptures speak of togetherness.
“There is one body and one spirit, one Lord, one faith” (Ephesians 4:4,5).
“That your hearts might be comforted, knit together in love“ (Colossians 2:2).
We are all part of God’s flock. Sheep like to be together. Unlike other animals who will scatter, sheep will stay together. They are gregarious. This helps them because they lack many of the natural defences other animals have, such as speed or personal protection (like a porcupine). Safety comes from staying close together.
To flock means to be in company together, to be a group. It means togetherness as comrades, brethren, and associates where we learn to pass our tests of character development into Christ. Some differences of opinion in Biblical details may exist which each Son and Daughter of the Most High has the liberty in Christ to possess. This develops humility, patience, and respect for other dear co-labourers in the “vineyard” of our Heavenly Father.
In such fellowship circles, we develop reliance on God to fight the battles surrounding us that might arise when sharing scriptural understandings of Divine revelation concerning prophetic unfoldings of Truth.
How we praise the God of mercy—the Almighty Heavenly Father, Who reads the heart of each one whom He has called by His good pleasure, for their eternal JOY and His HONOR (Nehemiah 8:10).
“BORN OF GOD” – What does this mean?
Peace may be found in holy words of encouragement and Divine reassurance. Here is one example.
“For everyone who has been BORN OF GOD overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world — our faith” (1 John 5:4).
The word “born” in this scripture is the Greek word “Gennao” (Strong’s #G1080) which often means begotten.
When and how are we begotten?
The beginning of one’s spiritual existence dates from the time a person believes in Christ as the ransom for their sin and makes a full surrender, or consecration, of themselves to Jehovah God, and this is accepted by Him.
The New Creature mind developing in such an individual continues until their final existence as actual spiritual beings, when they shall be “like Him” Jesus. As in natural generation, begetting precedes birth. Really there are three steps of development — begetting, quickening, and birth. So also with becoming “new creatures in Christ”—there are three corresponding steps.
(1) We are begotten through the Truth—the Gospel (1 Corinthians 4:15, 1 John 5:18).
(2) In due time come a quickening into activity, zeal, and labor. This gives evidence to others that we have been begotten of the truth to newness of life, new hopes and aims. The spirit of Christ in us will “quicken [make active in God’s service] our mortal bodies” (Romans 8:11).
(3) When we are properly developed, we shall come forth in the resurrection, “born” into full spirit-power and become “like him,” who is the “express image of the Father’s person” (Hebrews 1:3).
Our King Jesus gives us so much encouragement. “My reward is with me and I will give to each person according to what they have done”(Revelation 22:12).
The reward of immortality is the reward of the class who will help Christ bring the world of mankind up the Highway of Holiness!
Finally the Body of Christ shall be united with their Bridegroom— their Lord and Master Christ Jesus—for whom they have give up all earthly interests, ambitions, and desires. For whom they have suffered and on occasion been humiliated for, sometimes enduring abuses by the world who considers such as “peculiar.” Perhaps some of such are called by the world as “brainwashed,” “a sect,” “crazy,” “unbalanced in thinking,” “going overboard” with spiritual talk, “obsessed about God” etc.
May the JOY of finally overcoming the scorn of the cross of Christ that we do carry until death, create exuberant rejoicing within our entire being.
Each time we bow our heads and bend our knees in prayer, may the peace of God rule in us as we hide under the shelter of the Heavenly Father’s “wings” of Divine supervision, protection and comfort.
“Let your GENTLENESS be known TO ALL MEN. The Lord is at hand. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to GOD. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, WILL guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:5-7).
“Be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another. Love as brethren” (1 Peter 3:8).
Does “being of one mind” mean we must all think alike on every detail of Scriptural understanding?
No. How grand a blessing here in that it is our differences that help is develop the greatest lesson of all, AGAPE LOVE.
“Be of one mind. Live in peace. And the GOD of love and peace shall be with you” (2 Corinthians 13:11).
“Be of the same mind” (Philippians 4:2). Being of one mind does not mean we have to see exactly the same on every smallest detail of the Bible. This would be like saying we must wear the same shoes or agree to like the same flavours or the same colours.
Paul urges us to have no divisions amongst the brethren through a lack of tolerance, a lack of compassion… a lack of allowances given as we do have in the liberty in Christ one for another and we are not to show favouritism toward this one or that one based on human fleshly preferences, nor are we to idolize any man, other than CHrist Jesus.
We appreciate ALL OUR BRETHREN who profess their consecration daily before the throne of God in their private prayers, as we, pray for them (1 Corinthians 11:18,19).
Would the apostle approve of the butting of heads, divisions and unkind harsh arguments between the believers? No, he would not. So why does God allow this, one might ask?
The answer from the Divine Word of God is this: “so that they which are approved may be made manifest” (1 Corinthians 11:19).
Amidst the butting, some will show they still have the Lord’s spirit. They will be approved by showing a gentle submission of non-rebellious spirit of always considering others higher and better than themselves— by striving to not force their opinions of Biblical interpretation on others in a demeaning way; learning the lessons of humility, forgiveness, compassion and long-suffering; learning to LOVE MORE THROUGH SUFFERING MORE.
Aggressiveness among us is permitted by the Lord to see who will properly react to the test, who will have the right heart attitude, who will grow and manifest the fruits of the spirit. We really know only in part and this is humbling also (1 Corinthians 13:9).
Through the knowledge we acquire by our striving to diligently study the scriptures, and through our prayers for wisdom and understanding which our Divine Father does give to those who seek it in HIS Perfect time, in the Perfect amounts as HE would best see we should possess, let the main goal of all this work be to develop the HIGHEST LEVEL of LOVE possible — AGAPE love. A definition of agape love is in 1 Corinthians chapter 15. To put agape love into practice is why we are NOW being tested in the most severest and most adverse conditions of all.
Let us ask ourselves: does seeking and maintaining righteous peace help me love my brother and sister in Christ more?
Or should we “turn over the tables” of righteous anger like Jesus could and did do if we think we see or hear injustice? Let us restrain from this. We cannot judge the heart like our Master Jesus could and did.
“Blessed are the peace-makers: for they shall be called the children of GOD” (Matthew 5:9).
None will be accounted worthy who shall not have developed peace-loving dispositions. Anger, malice, hatred, envy, strife and a generally quarrelsome disposition must be recognized as belonging to the works of the flesh and the devil. These must be resisted in the heart fully, and in outward conduct as fully as possible.
“Peaceableness must supplant quarrelsomeness in all those who would hope to share the Kingdom and be recognized as children of GOD. ‘So far as lieth in you live peaceably with all men.’ This of course does not mean peace at any price, otherwise our Lord, the apostles and the faithful body of Christ throughout this age might not have suffered, or at least might have endured very much less suffering for righteousness’ sake. Hence, the significance of our Lord’s statement, ‘In the world ye shall have tribulation; in me ye shall have peace’ (John 16:33).” (Reprints of the Original Watchtower, R2251.)