The Price Of Peace (After-Thoughts)
I taught a message this past Sunday called, “The Price of Peace,” looking at Psalm 122 and how David’s description of the city of Jerusalem provides a picture of how we as Christians can position ourselves to allow the peace of God to rule in our hearts… individually (link to teaching here: https://youtu.be/JVMhtMXvknM).
If I could redo that message, I would’ve put a greater emphasis on what it will cost Christians to preserve peace within the CHURCH corporately, and not just within each individual. The reason why is because I think we already get a lot of counsel on how we can improve our own lives personally, but God desires to teach us much about how we are to seek the best interest of not just ourselves, but the Church at large, which I think is a point David is more interested in attacking as he talks about preserving the peace of Jerusalem for the benefit of all of God’s people that live in it in this psalm.
If it were possible to give the teaching another crack, I would have mentioned probably the following thoughts in there.
The price of cultivating the peace of God in His church at large requires us to:
1) PURSUE IT
In order for us to experience peace within the global church of Christ, we need to truly make it our goal, a goal we go after intentionally and not just hope for passively. Paul says in the book of Ephesians that we must “endeavor to keep unity” in the church. It requires us to be diligent. We need to fight for it at all costs. WHICH MEANS, we need to consider letting go of some discrepancies that push other Christians away rather than lift them up (I’m talking about non-fundamental doctrinal disputes). A good question to ask ourselves is, “Am I more concerned about proving that I’m right and that people from other denominations or who hold other convictions (ones that would not directly oppose clear Biblical doctrine) are wrong, or is my highest goal truly to LOVE others and fight for unity with them?” We can hold our own personal convictions without publicly disassociating ourselves with other believers who might see those minor areas of doctrine a little differently from us.
But when new levels of peace and unity are achieved, we must:
2) PROTECT IT
In my original teaching, I used this point to focus on the importance for us as Christians to individually take inventory of the thoughts we are entertaining in our minds that war against the very peace that Christ paid for us to have. I would still center this theme around protecting the peace of God in our hearts by guarding our minds, “bringing into captivity” the thoughts that aren’t thoughts that God has (as seen in 2 Corinthians 10:5), but I would also add the theme of protection that would be more centered around protecting our minds from thinking ill thoughts about others in the body of Christ. If we want to PROTECT the peace of God and the unity of His people, we need to protect our minds from thoughts that breed vain imaginations about our brothers and sisters in Christ. We need to do all that we can to keep our minds and hearts pure, to forgive offenses quickly, and to not allow the mistakes of others to infect us and keep us from loving them as Christ does. We must quickly recognize the thoughts that don’t produce the fruits of the Spirit in us, and we must confess those to Jesus immediately, crucifying them and inviting the truth of God’s Word to take their place.
After this, we must:
3) PRAY IT
This is really the only point that I wouldn’t touch, because the heart behind what I said in my original message still applies. As I mentioned in the message, we as people don’t tend to have much of a problem praying for ourselves… after all, how often do we really NOT spend thinking about ourselves at all? And I believe God absolutely wants us to be praying for His peace over ourselves, but perhaps He would want us to go to the next level and pray for His peace to rule in the hearts of the people around us, particularly other saints. I wonder what would happen to the local churches in America if each congregation member committed to praying for their church (or for the global Church for that matter) every day for a month. I bet we would be blown away by how much God would hear the prayers of His people for the unity and peace of His bride… AND, I bet we would all be individually surprised about how much peace we would experience in our own souls as a result.
That’s all for now. I hope this blessed you and challenged you as a follow-up to my original teaching on this matter. Thanks for reading. ✌🏼