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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.

When we were at Mount Sinai, the Lord our God said to us, ‘You have stayed at this mountain long enough. It is time to break camp and move on…Look, I am giving all this land to you! Go in and occupy it…” Deuteronomy 1:6-8 (NLT)

The Israelites were on their way to the Promised Land! After years of captivity they were going to finally receive the land that God had promised Abraham, Isaac and Joseph. It wasn’t an easy journey. The people grew tired of setting up and taking down camp. They missed the comfort of Egypt, even though they forgot about the abusive pain that they endured while there.

Soon they came to Mount Sinai and things got better. They had food provided to them daily, the Lord kept them in the shade of His cloud by day and they had the pillar of fire to keep them warm on the cool desert evenings. For two years, although they were surrounded by wilderness, they lived in comfort on the mountain.

Soon the word of the Lord came to them. You’ve stayed here long enough. This mountain-top experience has to end so that you can receive the real promise, the ultimate blessing of the land I have prepared for you. Pull up stakes. Head into the Wilderness so that you can receive something much better than you have now.

The message is much the same for us today. We have dreams. We have things we’d like to do. But we grow comfortable in our surroundings and don’t want to venture out. After all, who’d choose to be in a wilderness when we can enjoy the mountains.

If we want to receive all that God has for us it is impossible to stay in our comfort zone. But often it is easier to stay where we are. We don’t like hardship. We want to be comfortable and experience all the good things of life and God. But growing doesn’t come when we are comfortable. Growth, true Spiritual Growth, comes during those wilderness experiences when God teaches us to trust in Him.

Our Heavenly Father uses the hard times of life to teach us lessons we must learn to glorify Him. His goal is, and always will be, to give us the things we desire, to show us His good and perfect will. Until we are ready to leave our comfort zone and venture into the wilderness we will never experience the promises God has for us.

PRAYER: Heavenly Father. I confess to you that I far rather prefer comfort and mountain top experiences than I do the hardship of the wilderness. I know that I need to travel through the wilderness in order to receive all you have for me. Please give me the courage to step out, to get off my mountain and follow you. Strengthen me as I go through the wilderness and help me trust in You. Amen.

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