April 18, 2011
“Follow peace with all men and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord.”
Unless these are our pursuit, our purpose, passion and priorities are all wrong.
“Peace and purity.”
These are the two “consecrated commodities” being stressed in today’s Manna. And, our anonymous author’s words of “without which no man shall see the Lord” definitely make them an important, integral part of our spiritual diet and discipline.
From birth, neither of these two are inherent without our Adamic nature. Instead, self-seeking pride is the norm, with “I Did It My Way” being our favorite theme song. This doesn’t mean that we prefer discord over harmony; however, it does mean “when the chips are now”. . .or “push comes to shove”. . .we’ll regress into our “Survival of the Fittest” mode where “it’s every man for himself.”
Yet, in Christ, this should not be.
In His Sermon on the Mount, also known as the Beatitudes, Jesus said “Blessed are the peacemakers—for they shall be called the children of God” (Mt. 5:9). The Greek word “eirennopoios” is used here for “peacemakers” and also means “to be conciliatory, pacify, agreeable, bear with, yield, etc.” Thus, it’s the direct opposite of a troublemaker or someone who “devises wicked imaginations, has feet that are swift in running to mischief or one who sows discord among the brethren”—all of which are on “God’s Hate List” (Prov. 6:18-19).
That’s why we’re called to “follow (Grk. ‘dioko’—‘diligently pursue, press forward toward, etc.’) peace and holiness with all men.” It’s no accident that the two—“peace and personal purity”—are joined together here, for it’s impossible to have one without the other.
Only those in pursuit of a life of holiness (Christlikeness) are willing to forfeit their “rights” for the sake of Christ. Pride gives way to penitence and haughtiness is replaced by humility. This doesn’t mean we become the world’s doormat or spiritual milk-toast. However, it realizes there is strength in weakness (II Cor. 12:10) and “meekness is not weakness;” it’s simply strength under Christ’s control.
Thus, someone who is continually divisive. . .always out-of-control. . .always finding fault with others. . .cannot say he/she is Christ’s disciple; neither can he/she say “I know the Lord and what He wants for me”—for today’s Manna declares this an impossibility.
Therefore, we’d do well to see if “peace and purity” are an integral part of our Christian character and conduct. If not, we should not rest until they are. And, if they are, we should continue asking the Holy Spirit to further mature them in our lives so we’ll be doubly-blessed and others will readily see Jesus, the Prince of Peace, Who lives within us.