“Strive to live in peace with everybody and pursue that consecration and holiness without which no one will ever see the Lord.” Hebrews 12:14 Amplified
In the eleventh chapter of Hebrews we have the Hall of Faith, as it is called. All those before us who trusted in God, the old testament saints. So then Paul goes on to tell us how we can be in that Hall of Faith in the twelfth chapter of Hebrews.
The first step is to strive to live in peace with everybody, you have to want that. Sometimes that’s hard, sometimes we just give up, but if you really strive for peace, you can likely find it. Remember in striving for peace, you’re turning the situation over to God, it’s always a heart issue with Him. So though striving sounds hard, it really isn’t when you put it in God’s hands.
“I will listen, with expectancy, to what God the Lord will say, for He will speak peace to His people, to His saints, those who are in right standing with Him, but let them not turn again to self confident folly.” Psalm 85:8
I’m sure you have heard it said that you must listen to someone and not just hear what they are saying. This is especially true when someone is sharing God’s word. We often just hear what God word says but we don’t listen. To listen means that you fully comprehend what has been said and you think about it. I would add that with God’s word, you should also see how it applies to your life.
Our verse today says that if you truly listen when the Lord speaks, He will speak peace into your life. Isn’t that wonderful! Be careful though, it then gives us a warning. Don’t turn back, after you have trusted God and listened to Him, to self confident folly. We must put our confidence in God and not ourselves.
Listen to God, don’t rely on yourself and you will have peace.
“And the harvest of righteousness, of conformity to God’s will in thought and deed, is the fruit of the seed sown in peace by those who work for and make peace (in themselves and in others, that peace which means concord, agreement, and harmony between individuals, with undisturbedness, in a peaceful mind free from fears and agitating passions and moral conflicts). James 3:18 Amplified
This verse on peace has a lot packed into it. We saw in another verse that righteousness brings peace, with God and others. Doing the right thing is always right. In todays culture, though, we’ve gotten to the point where a lot of people are doing what’s right in their own sight, not realizing that they’re blind, spiritually speaking.
Let’s try and break some of this verse down. First, we see that righteousness is the harvest that comes from doing the will of God, because we are at peace with Him. Second, the verse says we work for and make peace, so peace doesn’t just fall on us like snow when we want it, we have to be active about it. Third, it says peace in ourselves and with others. Sometimes we can try and be peaceful with others and they don’t want to cooperate, but what about the peace in ourselves. Are you content where you are? Are you content with who you are? If not, seek God’s guidance and direction for those. Fourth, the verse defines what peace is – free from fears, agitating passions, and moral conflicts. If you are experiencing any of these than you can’t be at peace.
Now, take a step back and do an inventory. Are you doing God’s will, obeying His commands? Are you working to make peace with yourself and others? Are you fearful, agitated, or in conflict?
If you truthfully answer these questions and discuss them with God, you will find peace.
“Great peace have they who love your law; nothing shall offend them or make them stumble.” Psalm 119:165 Amplified
As a believer, that’s what I want to hear, “Great peace have they who love your law”! Wow, I have great peace, that’s comforting. But wait, the verse goes on to say “nothing shall offend them or make them stumble”. Uh oh, do I get offended or stumble? Well let’s do some self examination (we hate that stuff don’t we). Self examination is actually very beneficial and as you can see, in this case the reward is great peace!
Why would great peace cause me to NOT get offended? Peace is a state of mind that isn’t disturbed. If I am offended that means I AM disturbed, so I’ve let someone steal my peace. When we lose our peace and get disturbed and offended we can stumble and do or say something we may regret.
Okay, so now I see the sequence of events, but again how can great peace help me to not get offended? Our peace comes from trusting God. I guess you could compare peace with a lock on your front door, since we’re talking about someone stealing your peace. A small lock, like a small amount of trusting in God, is secure most of the time, but it might be broken into easily as well. However if you put a GREAT lock on your front door, it’s going to be a lot harder for someone to tamper with, virtually impossible!
Our faith and trust in God and His word must be great, we must turn over our whole life to Him, then our peace will be great and nothing will offend or make us stumble.
“Depart from evil and do good; seek, inquire for, and crave peace and pursue/go after it!” Psalm 34:14
Like our previous verse from the new testament, this old testament verse tells us to turn from our old nature, evil, and do good, then you will find peace. The verse also emphasized that you should make peace a priority- seek, inquire, crave pursue, go after it! If you make peace your number one goal you will have it, but we can’t expect peace when we pursue other, worldly things.
“Let him turn away from wickedness and shun it, and let him do right. Let him search for peace – harmony, undisturbedness from fears, agitating passions, and moral conflicts – and seek it eagerly. Don’t merely desire peaceful relations with God, your fellowman, and with yourself, but pursue and go after them!” 1 Peter 3:11 Amplified
A lot of people may not be reading this because the first line in this verse tells them to turn away from wickedness and do right. A lot of people don’t want to give up their bad habits and poor choices, but that’s the way you obtain peace.
Once you turn from sin and to God, and do what’s pleasing to Him you will receive peace.
It’s that simple.
“You will guard me and keep me in perfect and constant peace when my mind, its inclination and character, is stayed on You, because I commit myself to You, lean on You, and hope confidently in You.” Isaiah 26:3
We all want peace, sometimes we fight to get it, which obviously is conterproductive. Todays verse is how we get peace and keep it, when your mind, its inclination and character is stayed on God.
It all starts in the mind, that’s the seat of our decision making. We have to decide when unpeaceful situations pop up to keep our mind on God. Turn the situation over to Him to handle, He’ll do it, He wants to do it. The trouble is we like handling things, like a two year old we say “I do it myself”. He knows, like a parent, the best way to handle it.
Ironically, don’t we even say to ourselves or others that we wish we could turn this situation, whatever it may be, over to someone else to handle. WELL DO IT! Step back, take a deep breath and give it to God. Even if you have to do it more than once, keep doing it and believing He will handle it, He will.
Then you can rest in your peace.