“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God.”â€“ Matthew 5:9 (NIV)
Iâ€™m exploring the verse above to work out what who Jesus was talking about that He described as â€œpeacemakersâ€ so that I can be more like them. So far Iâ€™ve looked a little at the term â€œpeaceâ€ where I find it in the Bible to try to get a feel for what it really means.
I discovered that peace has a Social aspect and a Spiritual aspect. But where does real peace come from?
You want the short answer? It comes from God. (I know. Thatâ€™s a â€œDuh!â€ statement.)
Fortunately for us Paul explains it pretty well. Go figure. Hereâ€™s what he has to say:
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ
Jesus. â€“ Philippians 4:6-7 (NIV)
We access real peace by being real with God. It amazes me that the creator of the universe actually cares about little old me enough that Heâ€™s willing to bribe me to hang out with Him. Youâ€™d think it would be enough for me just to experience the awe and wonder of getting in the presence of the creator of all things, just to be in the presence of the ultimate power of space, time, and eternity.
But itâ€™s not. Iâ€™m really more interested in being in hanging out with all my hassles and problems. To me they are more in my face, they seem more real, than something (or more correctly someone) as far off and mystical as God. Iâ€™d rather worry and stress about all the junk in my life than hang out with God. How pathetic!
It’s a good thing for me that God knows all this so He has offered me a bribe. It basically boils down to this, â€œHang out with Me, tell Me about all the icky painful and petty stuff going on in your life, and I will give you peace. I know staying peaceful during all that junk thatâ€™s going on wonâ€™t make much sense, but I promise it will be real.â€
Sounds too good to be true, doesnâ€™t it? Fortunately Paul goes on in the next couple of verses to explain how to access peace even more.
Fix your thoughts on what is true and honorable and right. Think about thingsthat are pure and lovely and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Keep putting into practice all you have learned from me and heard from me and saw me doing, and the God of peace will be with you. (NLT)
In my Bible next to that passage I wrote, â€œWhat we put in determines what comes out!â€ In my study notes it says, â€œPaul tells us to program our minds with thoughts that are true, honorable, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, and worthy of praise.â€
Iâ€™ve spent too much of my life believing that I have no control over my thoughts. Yet here is Paul telling me that I can and should control what Iâ€™m thinking about. I am to â€œFix my thoughtsâ€ on positive helpful things. It is something I have control over. Why then don’t I believe I can control my thoughts?
The first section we looked at shows us that God basically offers us a bribe to get us to hang out with him. In this piece of scripture Paul tells us that if we get a grip on our thoughts, if we program our minds with better programs than God will naturally want to hang out with us. The structure is: Do these things and the result is God will be with you.
Holy Smokes! This whole thing explains a lot.
In our country weâ€™ve got whole churches that are filled with people who spend the vast majority of their mental energy thinking about how messed up things are and what is wrong with everything around them. They complain and try to fix things rather than bringing their concerns to God. Paul effectively says that God doesnâ€™t even want to hang out with these churches.
No wonder our world is such a mess!
Now hear me on this: Iâ€™m not saying that our churches are all going to Hell because they donâ€™t think right. Thatâ€™s not my point at all.
Look at it like this: Do you have any relatives that really annoy you and you donâ€™t like to spend time with? They are not first on your list of people to hang with. Maybe they arenâ€™t on the list at all! Just because you donâ€™t want to hang out with those challenging relatives doesnâ€™t mean they are not part of your family.
I get the feeling the same principle applies here. God recognizes that Christian who spend their mental energy thinking about trash are still part of His family. But he mostly only hangs out with them only at family reunions, if you know what I mean.
Well I sure want to hang out more with God. Iâ€™m making a change starting now. Itâ€™s time for a garage sale! Iâ€™m going to take all the junk in my life and move it out to the drive way. Iâ€™m selling it to God. No, better yet Iâ€™ll give it to Him, no charge.
Then Iâ€™m going to get a grip on all the junk Iâ€™m used to thinking about. I am going to re-program my mind to think about good positive helpful stuff so that God will want to hang out with me.
Wanna join me? Give away all your junk too!