Peace. Something that almost all of us long for. Something that also seems out of reach if you turn on the news or scroll through social media these days. It’s disheartening to hear people lament, “Why can’t we all just get along?” But then do nothing to work toward that end personally. Especially when they call themselves Christians. But here’s the thing y’all...peace doesn’t just happen. It takes work. Hard work that can only come from the Lord.
What Is the Meaning of 'Blessed Are the Peacemakers'?
In Matthew 5, Jesus gives his famous Sermon on the Mount to a host of followers. In the first 12 verses, He shares the Beatitudes...essentially a list of people God will bless because of the way they live their lives for Him. In Matthew 5:9 (NLT), He tells us, “God blesses those who work for peace, for they will be called the children of God.” Those who work for peace. In the NIV, it says, “Blessed are the peacemakers.” Those who make peace. It is clear that peace doesn’t come naturally, y’all. It doesn’t come easy. And that’s really the point.
What Does the Bible Say about 'Blessed Are the Peacemakers'?
“Work at living in peace with everyone, and work at living a holy life, for those who are not holy will not see the Lord”Hebrews 12:14 NLT.
“For the Scriptures say, “If you want to enjoy life and see many happy days, keep your tongue from speaking evil and your lips from telling lies. Turn away from evil and do good. Search for peace, and work to maintain it” 1 Peter 3:10-11 NLT.
“Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone” Romans 12:18 NLT.
“I am leaving you with a gift-peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid” John 14:27 NLT.
Jesus said, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” John 16:33 NIV (italics mine).
This world is troublesome, y’all. Oh, so troublesome. And Jesus clearly states that peace won’t be found here...but in Him. Jesus gives peace...but in the world, we have to work for it. And that got me thinking. We cannot and will not bring peace to everyone everywhere., but why, with the millions upon millions of Christians in the world today, are we still living with so much upheaval, unrest, and division, even in our own small circles?
Well, of course, Satan is still at work. Handily manipulating and using our weaknesses for His purposes. But there is something else that opens that door for Him. And this may step on some toes, including my own, but it must be said:
Knowing Jesus isn’t religious...it’s relational, y’all.
We can’t just settle for knowing about Him anymore. We have to remain in Him, choosing to stay in His presence, if we want to have peace...and share it.
It’s a daily surrender. Offering Him a broken and repentant heart (Ps.51:17), asking Him to search us and test our hearts (Ps 139:23). Choosing to trust Him and His Word, instead of the people and things of this world.
Because if we don’t, we won’t have the love or grace or mercy or strength or endurance or patience, that can only come from Him, to work for peace. In our flesh, we will fail.
How Can We Be Blessed Peacemakers Today?
So what do we do with that? Even if we are living in Him, how do we become peacemakers in a world so full of strife? When our flesh even fights against it? There are no easy answers. And ultimately, this world will have trouble until Jesus returns.
But, as recipients of this peace from Jesus, within our own homes, workplaces, and circles of influence, we have an obligation…a duty as Christ-followers…to share that peace with others and show them Who it comes from. So, here are a few things to remember the next time we face a difficult situation:
Remain “quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry” (James 1:19).
Oh, y’all. This one is hard. I know. Especially when someone is saying something that goes against everything you believe in. Something that you disagree with to your very core. But here’s the truth. Our words are our most valuable possession. They hold the power of life and death (Prov.18:21). And they can’t be taken back.
We must choose to respond rather than react. We must choose to listen rather than just hear. We must choose to see the person in front of us as God does...because He sees someone He loves, who He created with a purpose, and that He died for. Someone who is a sinner...just like us. And remember that in our responses to them, we have the opportunity to draw them to Jesus...or give them a reason to push him away.
Stand by our convictions based on God’s Word, but “speak truth in love" as we try to grow more and more like Jesus (Ephesians 4:15).
I think that so often, people believe that Christians must be quiet and kind and meek all of the time. That we must not ever disagree with people because it’s not “loving.” But that’s not true. As followers of Jesus, we stand on His Word as the Truth. Jesus was very clear when He said, “If you love me, obey my commandments” (John 14:15 NLT). Paul was steadfast when he said, “We are not trying to please people but God, who tests our hearts” (1 Thess. 2:4). If something goes against the Word of God, we can and should stand firm. But we should also pray for wisdom to choose our words and actions carefully as representatives of Jesus.
2 Timothy 2:24-25 says, “A servant of the Lord must not quarrel but must be kind to everyone, be able to teach, and be patient with difficult people. Gently instruct those who oppose the truth. Perhaps God will change those people’s hearts, and they will learn the truth.”
If we want to work for peace, it requires us to die to ourselves at times. To show the fruits of the Spirit (Gal.5:22) as we are kind, patient, and gentle, even when we don’t feel like it. We have to make the goal of living for Him, greater than living for ourselves (John 3:30). And remember that the ultimate goal is not to win an argument, but to point people to the only One who can truly bring peace.
Roots. Isn’t it interesting that just like the Lord looks at the heart, hidden from the world to see, He also encourages us to grow roots into Him? It says so much about the heart of God, that He doesn’t want a show. He doesn’t equate our growth in Him to the tree above, but to the roots below, hidden from the world, but clearly visible to Him. He refers to fruit as evidence of our relationship with Him, but not the work of getting to know Him more. That’s just for us...and Him.
Oh y’all, real growth happens away from the crowd. In the quiet stillness. Studying the Word, spending time in prayer talking to your Savior. When those things are in place, and our roots are growing deep, we will be able to not only long for, but work for peace willingly. Because we will be working in His love and strength and grace and mercy, and not our own.
Blessed are the peacemakers. My prayer for all of us as we work for peace:
“I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit. Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is”
Ephesians 3:16-18 NLT.
Photo credit: ©Getty Images/Yolya
Maggie Meadows Cooper is a wife, mom, educator, author, and blogger with a longing for women to grow a heart for Jesus and others. She is the author of the children’s book “Bumper” and blogs at The Little Moments about what the Lord is teaching her through her children and everyday life. She contributes to Blogs by Christian Women, Devotional Diva, She Disciples, and Connecting Ministries. An educator with a M.Ed. in Early Childhood Education from Auburn University (War Eagle!), she has twenty years of experience working with young children. She loves all things chocolate, real Coca-Cola, and lives with her husband, three children, and two rambunctious dogs in Opelika, Alabama.
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