Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Colossians 3:15

What does the peace of Christ look like in your life? The Apostle Paul tells us, in his letter to the church in Colossae that we are to let that peace be the governing rule in all we say and do. Peace is to be the one defining characteristic of the body of Christ.

It’s important to remember that the body of Christ (what we refer to as the church) is not a building. The body of Christ is not a set of rules and doctrines designed to brainwash us into being clones of one another. The body of Christ is simply NOT church as we think of it today. The body of Christ is like any other body. It’s a living organism made up of many parts that look different, act differently, and perform different yet work in complete harmony with one another for the good of each other.

A body that is not at peace is a sick body. It is unable to function properly and fulfill its duties to one another. If you have ever hit your thumb with a hammer or stubbed your toe in the dark you know how great a body is affected when one part is not at peace. The same is true in the body of Christ. When we set up rules and regulations that exclude people or take us on a path away from the word of God we weaken the entire body.

Wherever Jesus went on earth, he brought peace. He did not bring peace in the way the religious community wanted peace. He did not bring peace politically. Jesus brought a peace that can not be acquired through religious dogma or sacrifice. He brought a peace that can not be dictated and controlled by government action. Jesus brought peace to the soul. He brought peace to the soul of the woman caught in adultery; to the parents of the demon-possessed boy; to the parents of the little dead girl.

The peace of Christ will dwell in us only when we come to a realization of who we are and grow in relationship with Him. His peace comes when we confess our anger, our guilt, our shame or bitterness. His peace comes when we admit to Him our doubt, our judgmental spirit, our pride. His peace comes when we leave the emptiness of religion and enter the freedom of relationship.

The defining characteristic of a body in which the peace of Christ rules is being thankful. A heart at peace with Christ is a heart that in the midst of any tragedy can be thankful. Not thankful for the pain or the loss, but thankful that Jesus loves and forgives us and promises to walk with us along the path of life.

PRAYER: Dear Jesus, Son of God, Savior and Lord of the world. I confess to you that there are many times I exchange your peace in my life with rules and regulations that keep me from experiencing all the joy I can have in relationship with you. I get angry. I let my past or the brutal, stupid attacks of others get in my way. I retaliate rather than let you protect me. I judge other people. Empower me with your Holy Spirit to live in peace because of the relationship I have with you. In Your holy name I pray, Amen.