“Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called sons of God.”
Peace is central to the message of the Gospels and to the revelation of God. God is seen as a God of peace and the giver of peace. Jesus is referred to as the Prince of Peace, the one who would ‘proclaim peace to the nations’ and who promised His peace to His disciples. And as Paul taught
“Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 5:1)
With Jesus therefore as the great Peace-maker in reconciling us to God it is no wonder that peace-making should be an important part of the new Christian character. Scripture makes it clear to us.
- “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness” (Galatians 5:22)
- “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace.” (Colossians 3:15)
- “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” (Romans 12:18)
In the letter to Timothy Paul links peace, amongst others, with a pure heart – one which is single or undivided – that is, totally focussed on and committed to God and not at war within itself with competing desires and loyalties.
The peace-making to which Jesus refers would have three aspects. The first would be to do nothing to disturb our new relationship with God, but rather to honour and seek its development through our love and obedience. The second would be to live in harmony with ourselves – trusting God for His love, wisdom and salvation and, as best we can, allowing Him to develop us as people pure in heart, undivided in our loyalty to Him. The third would be in relation to those around us – both Christian and others.
It is important to recall Jesus directives to us – to love God, to love our neighbour, to love one another and to love our enemies. These commands relate not only to our actions but our thoughts as well. We have to be careful how we think of others, speak of others and act towards others – or fail to act. Nothing can disturb our own peace quite as easily as someone else’s comments or deeds – and we may find that not only have we descended back to the level of the world but we have done so with great passion and enthusiasm! The way up again can be very humbling and painful. Peace-making starts within our hearts and minds and these have to be right themselves.
The progression of the Beatitudes themselves is so informative. The poor in spirit, those who mourn, the meek, those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, the merciful and now – in its deliberate place – the peacemakers. Having learned to see ourselves in a completely new way we can now look at others and seek not their destruction but their peace – with God, with themselves and with each other.
Whilst peace will not always be possible in all circumstances, and within and between all people, we are nevertheless to see it as a priority. There will be many times where we can make a positive contribution and be led by the Spirit into creative ways and methods of preserving and promoting peace. The starting point may often stem from the peace and love that others may perceive in us.
If this is what God wants then this is what I must let Him make of me.
Lord Jesus, Prince of Peace, bless me please with Your peace and help me to become more of a peace-sharer and peacemaker – for Your sake. Amen.