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Be Ready For Peace And Holiness

Hebrews 12:14
Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord. (NIVUK)

Peace requires hard work! It is an illusion to think that peace will come from emptying your mind and doing nothing. Certainly, we need rest of body and mind, but neither automatically bring peace to our hearts. Peace is not just rest; it is the confidence that there is nothing to disturb our relationships. We live in a world of conflicts, where human beings are not in harmony with each other or their Maker. As one individual or group seeks to get the better of another, friction, anger and violence erupt (James 4:1-3). The route to peace is through repentance and reconciliation. That is why Jesus came to earth so that, through bearing our sins, we might be reconciled to God (Colossians 1:19-22).

Jesus worked very hard at providing the path to peace for us: it was His life's work. And it was agony (Acts 2:24). But the harvest of salvation achieved all that God intended and He is well satisfied (Isaiah 53:11-12). Jesus is our model: we follow Him. So we must make every effort to live in peace, with our family, our spiritual family and the world (Romans 12:18). It will be hard work forgiving those who sin against us (Matthew 6:12-14; Luke 23:34). It will be hard work confessing our sin and asking for the forgiveness of others (Matthew 5:23-24). It will be hard work bringing God's message of reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5:18-19) and many will not want to hear it.

It will be hard work to live a holy life amidst much conflict and provocation. It will be hard work to love when you are hated, bless when you are cursed and speak well of people when they slander you (1 Corinthians 4:12). It will be hard work to pray for those who ill-treat you. As the holiness of Christ is evident in your lifestyle, the world's malice will focus on you. But there is no other way to live which pleases the Lord. And we do not endure alone or work by our own strength. All this hard work is energised by His grace (1 Corinthians 15:10).

Paul writes in Colossians 1:29: "To this end I labour, struggling with all his energy, which so powerfully works in me." Also in Ephesians 4:3: "Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace." All this is impossible unless we keep in peace with the Lord as we look forward to meeting Him – 2 Peter 3:14 says, "So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him." The Christian life requires our dedicated effort as well as the Lord's abounding grace. The Christian life is not a cruise ship in which we enjoy ourselves in the company of like-minded passengers. It is more like a hospital ship in a war zone, always in danger and always seeking to save the perishing wherever they may be found.

God of peace. Thank You for providing, in the sacrifice of Jesus, the only way to be reconciled with You. Forgive me for treating my faith as a selfish thing, seeking an oasis from the world rather than going with You into a world of conflicts. Please help me to be ready to make every effort to be reconciled and bring reconciliation; to live a holy life and to work hard to please You and be ready for the Day I meet You. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
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© Dr Paul Adams