Saturday, December 08, 2012

Allowing Peace

"Above all these things, walk in love, which is the bond of perfection. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which you were called in one body; and be thankful." Colossians 3:14-15 NHEB
We have dealt in a previous post on the "love" part. Now let's look at the "peace" piece. The Greek word used here is "peace" and it means - peace. The Strong's definition says: "peace, peace of mind; invocation of peace a common Jewish farewell, in the Hebraistic sense of the health (welfare) of an individual." I like that because it expands it in our understanding to a total sense of well-being. 

We all know the "feeling" or "sense" of something not being quite right. The feeling is not fear, but a bit of apprehension. This is the Spirit's way of warning us that either something is not as it seems, or something is needing to be looked at again. This type of "alerting" is our Lord's ever present guarding us as we live. 

On the opposite end of the "sense," is knowing deep within that all is well. That type of peace is to be what we anticipate when all is as it should be. Sometimes, we have this sense when everything around is upside down and inside out. Then it really doesn't make sense to be at peace, but we are. This is a precious wrapping in His love. 

This verse (15) tells us to let this peace to be the determiner of how we move. It is up to us to allow this to be active. It is not something forced nor is it automatic. It is allowed. The word "rule" here is defined as: (lit: to act as arbiter in the games), I rule, arbitrate. We would call it the umpire in a game - the one who calls the shots. That is what the Holy Spirit is after. He wants to call the shots, so to speak. He wants to determine what is done and how. Normally, He is pleased with us and just flows in blessing with us. But there are times, when He speaks loudly through a sense of unrest. Then we need to be very sensitive to His touch. 

Recently I was having some doubts about a decision I had made. I had no reason to have doubts, for it seemed the right thing to do and the right way to go. But it just would not leave, so I waited, and then when that reserve did not leave, I reversed the decision. So I did not commit to do what did not bring peace in me. In a few days, that decision was confirmed as being correct, for it would have been a mess of confusion had I proceeded. I am learning. 

The last part of this verse says we are called "into" (literal) this peace for that is what our Lord is - this marvelous peace and well-being. The literal is that we are to do this in all graciousness. The word is usually translated "thankfulness" and that is not wrong, but the word's root is "grace." I think they are much the same thing. 

So as we are learning - we rejoice together for such a Lord who walks every moment with us, giving us a gracious and peaceful way to express His life in us and our life in Him. Marvelous! 

Monday, December 03, 2012

The Love of All Loves

"Above all these things, walk in love, which is the bond of perfection." Colossians 3:14 NHEB
This verse is so simple and often is just read as an "amen" type of statement to what has preceded it. But when we read verses 12-14, it is the end of the "put on" encouragements. It is the final piece of our "image" garments. The NIV says, "And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity."

It is the cloak or covering that empowers all the other things listed previously; compassion, kindness, lowliness, humility, and perseverance; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another. So the sense is that without love as the covering the other aspects are not effective. You see, it is love the human craves and it is love that Jesus brings. Everything other need is a part of that basic human need. 

So we are encouraged to wrap ourselves in His love and then all the other aspects of His image in us will flow to others effectively. Human compassion, kindness, lowliness, humility, perseverance - is like Mom's apple pie. It may comfort us initially, but is really not healthy for us and will not give us what is needed to live in a healthy way. So we as believers, are always challenged to learn to exchange our dependence upon the love of humans and begin to receive the love of Jesus through humans. 

That may seen like a simple difference of semantics, but I assure you it is not. When we live dependent upon another person's own love for us, it will end up very empty in the long run. We become disappointed and crushed. When we spend our time giving and receiving His love, the humans we are loving and are being loved by become loved more deeply in the long run - for it is His love that will hold, even within my relationships. 

I am reminded of another scripture: "For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but faith working through love." Gal. 5:6 NKJV None of the "stuff" we do or do not do means anything, but what does mean something is faith, our trust in our Lord Jesus, working through love. 

This is the journey of our life - receiving this love of all loves and allowing the Lord to love others with His nature through us.