Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness, no one will see the Lord. Hebrews 12:14
Society of International Law, in London, states that during the last 4,000 years, there have been only 268 years of peace despite good peace treaties. In the last 3 centuries, there have been 286 wars on the continent of Europe alone. J.K. Laney, Marching Orders, p 50
I strongly believe the illusiveness of peace in the world is connected to the failure to honor and reverence God as our creator and redeemer. It is God who taught us about peace in His word. He is the one who can sustain peace and ensure the success of any peace treaty.
The prophet Isaiah reminds us that “God will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast because they trust in Him.” When we yield to the Sovereignty of God, His Holy Spirit soothes our doubts and calms our fears. Then we can abide in His love and trust that all things will work for our good.
One of the benefits of a Christ-centered life is divine peace. Before His ascension to heaven, Jesus told His disciples, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid (John 14:27).”
In today’s text, the writer echoes the words of Isaiah 26:3 and encourages believers to make every effort to live in peace with everyone. Interestingly, he also exhorts them to cultivate holiness. For, without holiness, no one will see the Lord. The peace of God is a spiritual fruit that is cultivated by those who know and worship His holiness.
The pursuit of holiness leads to a peaceful life. Indeed, those who are filled with the Spirit of God and are driven to let their spiritual light shine in this world of darkness will prioritize peace over conflict and make every effort to live in peace with everyone. That does not mean they acquiesce to tyranny or remain indifferent to injustice. Indeed, holiness compels one to defend the powerless and speak truth to evil. Yet, this is done with a spiritual conviction based on God’s unfailing grace.
Unfortunately, this country is becoming more and more polarized. The peace of God has even become elusive in the Church of Jesus Christ as many denominations face upheaval as they allow worldly politics to undermine their core Christian beliefs and doctrines. American Christendom needs to return to God with prayer and fasting in the spirit of holiness so there can be peace in the land.
In the meantime, you are to love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them that despitefully use you and persecute you, that you may children of your Father in Heaven. Matthew 5:44-45. Those who do so are indeed making every effort to live in peace with everyone.
Questions for Personal Reflection
What is the relationship between peace and Holiness in your view?
Why is peace so elusive in the world?
Prayer- Our Father in Heaven. May your gift of peace through Jesus Christ saturates our minds and hearts so we can make every effort to live in peace with everyone. In times of conflict, please reminds us to exhibit Christ-like forgiveness and extend grace so there can be reconciliation.