Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace. For there is one body and one Spirit, just as you have been called to one glorious hope for the future. Ephesians 4:3–6 (NLT)
I like the word effort in this scripture because it is a realistic assessment of what it takes to stay united and connected within the Body of Christ. In the best of times, that unity is a fragile thing that should be handled very carefully. One word out of place can disturb the peace that defines a group of people. One simple and seemingly insignificant misunderstanding can unravel a carefully constructed unity.
The apostle Peter wrote in his letter to the churches to underscore this reality:
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. The eyes of the Lord watch over those who do right, and his ears are open to their prayers. But the Lord turns his face against those who do evil. 1 Peter 3:10–12 (NLT)
We all can tell stories of how a rumor or misinformation tore a beautiful family apart with dire consequences for all involved. Peter cautioned his readers to search for peace, implying that at times it may be missing. Put in the work it takes to maintain peace.
Why is that important? Peter reminds us that the Lord watches over His people and that He listens to the prayers of those who do right. The Lord does not receive those who do evil. What does the Lord consider to be evil, then?
In the Book of Wisdom, Proverbs, the writer listed what God hates as a cautionary reminder to his readers:
There are six things the Lord hates — no, seven things he detests: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that kill the innocent, a heart that plots evil, feet that race to do wrong, a false witness who pours out lies, a person who sows discord in a family. Proverbs 6:16–19 (NLT)
Slow down and you consider this list. Once again it is clear that doing anything that creates discord will warrant God’s fiercest opposition. Almost everything on the list is contrary to a peaceful existence and brings about division.
On the other hand, when you work hard to be at peace with others in the family of God, you will enjoy God’s favor. Your prayers will be answered. Isn’t that what you want?
Make every effort to remain in a state of peace with others and work diligently towards peace when it is lost.
- Pay attention to the level of peace in your relationships. If peace is absent, investigate and start the process towards restoring it.
- Watch your words. They have the power to lessen the peace you experience in your life.
- Don’t sow discord in the family. God hates it, and your prayers will not be heard.
- Work hard at being at peace with others because that will provide you with many joyful days in your life!
Excerpted from The Art of Peace: 21 Days To A More Peaceful You by Iann Schonken: