Live in Peace

“Finally, brothers, rejoice. Aim for restoration, comfort one another, agree with one another, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you.” 2 Corinthians 12:11

This morning I finished reading 2 Corinthians. This encouragement to Paul’s brothers and sisters in the Lord comes at the very end of the book and has been on my mind all day. Mostly, it feels really hard to do these things.

How do I aim for restoration when it’s easier to tear down than build up? How do I comfort those around me when I would rather focus on my own issues? How do I agree with others when I value having my own thoughts and opinions more? How do I live in peace with others when sometimes people are just hard to love and peace doesn’t feel worth it?

It’s hard.

Thoughts to combat this toxic thinking:

  1. God’s word doesn’t give us suggestions, it tells us how to live. We don’t get to choose how to live our lives. When something is asked of us, our options are to do that thing, or to live in disobedience. If I am not aiming for restoration, I am living in disobedience. If I am not comforting those around me, I am living in disobedience. If I’m not actively seeking to be of one mind with other believers, I am living in disobedience. If I am not living peaceably, I am living in disobedience.
  2. The fact that something is difficult doesn’t mean that it’s not worth it. Actually, it seems probable most valuable things require a shift in thinking and some hard work to implement in our lives.
  3. There are so many more commands and statements in scripture that are hard to do. “Do not fear.” “Deny yourself, take up your cross, and follow me.” “Love your neighbor as much as you love yourself.” These commands point us to Christ and are intended to make us more like him.
  4. We are promised union with Christ when we are obedient to him: “…and the God of love and peace will be with you.”

But anyway, those four things from 2 Corinthians 12:11. Aim for restoration, comfort one another, agree with one another, and live in peace. I’m praying that the Lord in his kindness changes my heart so that these inform my interactions with others. Will report back.

Some Good Stuff:

This Tim Keller sermon about how we can (should?) focus more on the ‘why’ than the ‘how’ of God created the earth. He talks about what it really means that the earth was made ‘good’ and how that changes the way we live — and it does change the way we live! It’s called ‘The Song of Creation’ if you want to search in your podcast app.

The Lord’s Prayer’ by Sandra McCracken is so catchy and good.

Also, ‘With You Now’ by Ellie Holcomb articulates the role of the Holy Spirit so well — that it is with us as our helper, comforts us in times of pain, and speaks to God on our behalf, like Romans 8:26–27 says.

It feels like this has been a tough week for a lot of us, but I pray that you guys are trusting the Lord’s promises and seeking him all the more when things are difficult and sad and discouraging. This is the time that it’s hardest to lean into him, but he promises that he will draw near to us when we draw near to him. Love you guys.

~ Western Reserve Staff