Eager for Peace

The fourth chapter of Ephesians is a difficult section from which to extract only one meaningful section upon which to comment. Every section is loaded with meat and worthy of a long discourse. Indeed, every sentence in this chapter speaks to my heart and begs my further reflection.

But, that is not the purpose of this exercise so I will content myself to constrain the words to only one of the many beautiful thoughts in this chapter.

Eph 4:1-3  – I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. (ESV)

 A few weeks ago in the blogosphere, there was a strong word on the need for and necessity of confrontation. It was a good word. Confrontation of sin and hypocrisy is necessary now more than ever in our sin-sick, new-age-influenced churches. But, it is easy to go overboard with this. It is easy to spot “what is wrong” especially when all we do is look for that which is out of order.

We are not God’s policemen. That job belongs to the Holy Spirit. (John 16:8-11)

Paul tempers that sort of mentality here as he tells us to be eager to maintain peace.

He also mentions this necessity in another place where he writes:
If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. (Rom 12:18 ESV)

The application of this verse may best be served by using a paraphrase: Refuse to touch the bone of contention.

This is what we need to operate by in our lives, and I’ve seen some bloggers who are beginning to make this shift in their thinking. I’m hoping that they will begin to have good testimony as to its effectiveness.

By effectiveness, I mean that if we can get off the issues that cause controversy, we may very well have a chance to bring someone to the truth we have been trying unsuccessfully to beat them over the head with.

 It is worthy of our calling if we can learn to live at peace, to maintain unity through our humility, gentleness, and patience.

Yes, it is true that this has been pushed to an extreme where now, all things are tolerated in the name of peace. And, yes, the pendulum MUST swing in the other direction. However, I do not believe that it is necessary for us to go to the other extreme of picking a fight over every little thing that we think is wrong.

Make peace and harmony the goal.

Harmony means that there is agreement.

Let us learn to differentiate between the absolutely necessary, that is, the primary, things and those that are not.

Earnestly contend for that which is necessary.

Enjoy the debates over that which is not, but do not allow fellowship to be broken. And if someone is about to break fellowship over something that is debatable, then it is up to you to take the higher road, drop the debate, restore peace and maintain unity.

That is the Word of the Lord to us in this passage.

NOTE: This is the fourth in a weekly posting on the Epistle to the Ephesians. I am not the only one who is writing on this book. There are others who will be posting something on their blog each day of the week. We are each bringing something that the Lord gives us from chapter four of the epistle. You will be greatly blessed and encouraged, and your heart will be filled if you will take the time to read each day’s posting from one of the other saints involved in this collective effort. Put the following link in your “favorites” or on your link bar at the top of your browser: http://www.philter48.com/bbs/ and make it a point to visit everyday.

Blogged Bible Study–Peace & Quiet

Jn 14:27
Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.      KJV

Have you ever shouted out, “Just give me some peace and quiet!”? We probably all have at one time or another.

Have you ever noticed how those two words are used together, but are usually taken to mean the same thing?

The statement is usually made in the midst of some sort of chaos.

We all desire peace and quiet.

The two are not the same. You can have one without the other.

It is possible to be quiet, but not at peace.

I had a young girl in my last class who was a selective mute. It took me three months to get her just to nod her head in my direction when she came into my classroom. She was quiet, but she was definitely not at peace.

No smile. No words for anyone. Eyes constantly darting around. Fear written all over her young, 11-year-old face.

In another instance, one of the elders in my church a few years back tried to follow my example of going up into the mountains for three days of fasting and prayer. While there he had a nervous breakdown. He discovered he was not able to be alone with his thoughts. It was quiet for him. Too quiet. He had no peace.

It is also possible to have peace in the midst of the most terrible chaos.

Mt 8:24
And, behold, there arose a great tempest in the sea, insomuch that the ship was covered with the waves: but he was asleep.   KJV

I’ve been in the North Atlantic in the midst of a vicious storm. Sleep was not possible until one simply passed out from sheer exhaustion.

But, Jesus slept.

Jesus said that He will give us peace, but it will not be in the same manner or type that the world gives. The only peace the world knows is the absence of noise, the absence of chaos, the absence of war.

He gives us the peace that “passes understanding” (Phil. 4:7). It is a peace that goes beyond our understanding. It definitely goes beyond the understanding of the world, or the natural man.

We can (and should) be at peace in the most trying circumstances. We are in an hour that is trying men’s souls. This is nothing compared to what shall be; but it is a time to learn how to maintain peace.

“How can you be so peaceful when the world is falling apart all around you?”

Because I know in whom I have believed.

Yes, the world appears to be falling apart all around us in this hour. But, Jesus said to not let your heart be troubled nor let it be afraid.

Why?

Because we are at peace with the world, with ourselves, and with God, because Jesus has given that to us.

Do you know that peace?

If you do not know what it is to have that kind of peace in this kind of turmoil, I encourage to e-mail me or one of the other writers who are discussing this chapter of John’s gospel.