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Pursue peace with everyone, and holiness, for without it no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one comes short of the grace of God, that no one be like a bitter root springing up and causing trouble, and through it many become defiled. (Hebrews 12:14-15 NET)
Peace isn’t easy! Often conflict, frustration, anger, and resentment can be the standard while peace seems elusive at best. As we know, global conflicts and regional wars can erupt at any moment. When turmoil surrounds us, it can be personally challenging to find physical, emotional, spiritual, and relational peace in our lives.
In the verses above, we see that believers are called to pursue peace and holiness; both of which are prerequisites for seeing the Lord (Hebrews 12:14). A key word to note in this passage is pursue. I believe we do not acquiesce to peace. Pursuing peace is an active task requiring intentional effort.
As we walk with Jesus, we submit to the process of sanctification, becoming more and more like Him over time. In both the Old and New Testaments, God is frequently calling His people to be holy as He is holy (Leviticus 19:2, 1 Peter 1:15-16). So if peace and holiness go hand in hand, then as we become more holy, peacemaking should be more evident in our lives. In His Sermon on the Mount, Jesus declares, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called the children of God” (Matthew 5:9).
Why is it important that we pursue peace? Outside of the fact that Jesus did, and we are to emulate Him, peacemaking is a radical response to otherwise incendiary situations. Peace is not a natural destination in our sinful world. Because of this, believers must be united in peace for the sake of the Gospel. When people see and experience the peace and unity of the body of Christ, it is baffling and an incredible testimony to what God is doing in each of our lives.
My personal favorite experiences of this peace have been as a member of Operation Blessing’s international disaster relief team. I have served alongside believers from many different languages, nationalities, and cultures with often the only unifying factor being Jesus. Even after hard days and exhaustion sets in, we experienced peace and unity by God’s grace for His kingdom.
When we let go of our pride and put others’ needs before ourselves, it creates an opportunity for peace. As Paul encouraged the church in his letter, Instead of being motivated by selfish ambition or vanity, each of you should, in humility, be moved to treat one another as more important than yourself. (Philippians 2:3) When we set aside our own desires and instead promote peace amongst believers, it cultivates unity and models the love Jesus has called us to. When we become peacemakers to the world around us, it provides a glimpse of Jesus’ life-changing love. Be the peacemaker to your family, friends, co-workers, and neighbors for the Gospel of Jesus.
Scripture is quoted from the NET Bible® copyright ©1996-2017 All rights reserved. Build 30170414 by Biblical Studies Press, L.L.C.
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