This past week I was blessed to preach at NVC on the subject of Peace, coming from Colossians 3. He are a few notes from the sermon that I’d like to share. You can check out the full sermon audio/ video at newvintagesd.org.
Godly peace is more than a moment or a destination. It is an active process, or discipline, that requires exercise to grow.
Peace is more than the absence of conflict. In fact, it’s during the most chaotic times that peace, especially Godly peace, tends to stand out the most.
The problem with narrowing peace down to a few moments of calm is that these moments tend to be few and far between, and they very rarely last as long as we’d like. Chasing after a narrow view of peace can be a frustrating and miserable journey.
True peace is a fruit of the spirit. It is a way of life that comes from allowing Christ to fill your heart, and a constant focus on things from above.
It doesn’t take much to look around see how much our culture celebrates “life at war”. Many of our most popular tv shows thrive by cramming a group of twentysomethings into a house filled with everything but inhibition and letting the cameras catch all the ensuing drama. Even our political discourse often devolves into talking heads trying to ‘win’ an argument by yelling over each other. I’m reminded of something my dad told me once, “If you get into an argument you’ve already lost.”
In Colossians Paul writes that we are to put down our weapons of rage, anger, malice, lying and filthy language. These are a part of a life of war filled with immorality, lust and other evil desires. As Christians, we look at these weapons in the rear view mirror, a shadow of a former life.
We have a new fight. It is a fight for peace. And we arm ourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. We don’t fight for peace according to the world’s rules anymore. Instead, we model ourselves after a man who taught us to turn the other cheek, to forgive as we have been forgiven. A man who mended the ear of his attacker, and won an eternal victory for us all by dying on a cross.
Practicing peace is a spiritual discipline, a constant process of growth that is driven by the Holy Spirit. It brings about new perspective of our world, and a maturity in our relationship with God. I think the more we practice peace the easier it is for us to understand that our victories have already been won. And with that, I leave you with the words of Paul:
Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. (Colossians 3:15-17)
One love, one heart.