7 Nov 1999

The Peace of Christ

Submitted by theshovel
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And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful. Colossians 3:15

If you're not familiar with this verse you may not realize that the word, "rule", has the sense of arbitrate (an arbitrator is "Someone chosen to judge and decide a disputed issue"). I was taught that this verse shows me how to make decisions. Depending on the technicality of the "spiritual leader" (whoever it is) some have been challenged to ask the Spirit to make decisions for them even down to which sock to put on first. That may SOUND spiritual, but it's nothing but bondage. Now most of my day, I make decisions without thinking, but sometimes, I am caught in indecision. So, if I am a "grace" kinda person I will reject the obvious bondage that has trapped some, and apply this principle to those places where I can't decide. Sounds pretty reasonable, huh?

So ... what am I looking for when I am waiting for this "peace" to make (or help make) my decision for me? Is it the same thing the world teaches about love, "You'll know it when it happens"? Is it when I feel 100% certain? What if I have any reservations ... am I to be left in indecision? You've been there, haven't you? How many times have you just gone with your "gut" only to regret it later (or maybe just question it)? What if "the peace of Christ" has nothing (zip, nada, zilch) to do with feelings? The truth is that whether you use this principle to tell you which sock to put on first or whether you reserve it only for major decisions you are giving into bondage. Yep, you heard me right. But I have some good news for you ... and it is better than you can imagine. :)

I have no problem with the concept of "arbitrate" in the verse; no, it has to do with what Paul meant by "THE PEACE OF CHRIST" that I question. It is NOT elusive. It is NOT vague. It is NOT something hidden. It is NOT something you feel. It is NOT something that God will give you if you ask. It is NOT something that is added on to what you already have in Christ. The answer is simple ... it is right under your nose ... and you ALREADY know it. You just don't realize that you know it, and that is how someone can pull you off of the confidence of what you already have.

What was Paul telling these believers from Colosse (Colossians lived in Colosse, duh! :)? Aside from culture, location and modern conveniences these people were no different than you and I. And they were being hit with the same things. The list below is all from Colossians 2.

They were being pressured to:

* hold to rituals that were "shadows" of Christ.
* live according to the same kind of principles by which the world lives.
* look at each other by what they were in this world.
* achieve a "humble" attitude.
* consider the messengers as being head of the body. (angels = messengers; look it up)
* take a stand on personal visions.
* gain an appearance of godliness.

All of this pressure was being put upon them by some people who desired to pull their confidence off of Christ, Himself, as being their everything. What was being offered to them had NO VALUE in their struggle with "fleshly indulgences". Why don't you stop, right now, and read, at least, the first two chapters of Colossians? It is a potent detailing of Christ and of what He has accomplished through His death and resurrection.

So, how does this relate to "the peace of Christ"? It should be obvious, but after so many years of personal experience in the realm of confusion, believe me, I understand if it doesn't seem too obvious. Verse 15 is found smack dab in the middle of Paul's discussion about personal relationships. In other words, it has to do with "What does the reality of Christ have to do with how we are to get along with one another?" Are you following me here? I'm not making this up: go ahead and read Colossians 3:12-17 and notice that it all fits together in this context.

Here is what the verse says: The only basis upon which we have "unity" with one another is in what Christ has done when He removed the barriers between us, so ... LET THIS PEACE THAT HAS BEEN ACCOMPLISHED BY CHRIST BE WHAT SETTLES YOUR DISPUTES WITH EACH OTHER, FOR THIS IS WHAT YOU WERE CALLED TO.

(continued ... as part of the Shoveletter series, "The Will of God")

Comments

theshovel's picture

These comments were all transferred over from the original website


Posted: November 8, 1999 by Heather

ok, you have my attention.

Please hurry up and finish your cliffhanging devotional. (and please continue to discuss decision making and peace, not just interpersonal relationships.)


Posted: November 8, 1999 by Sherri

Dear Shovel,

I do love the letter to the Colossians!! It is so massively, intensely, largely, imposingly, heavily, and solidly (do you get my point?) GOD - and Christ - cored, hearted, rooted, centered, seated, focused, directed, concentrated, channeled, devoted and focalized (it is a legitimate word, honest) !! :)

The other thing I have grown to love and appreciate in the letter to the Colossians is Paul's expressive use of prepositions and prepositional phrases. They link us together with GOD and Christ! :) They link everything we are to Christ Himself!! They specify all that we are, do, and have that makes us faithful, grace-ful, prayerful, hopeful, fruitful, knowledgeable, wise, worthy, pleasing, powerful, thankful, qualified, delivered, transferred, redeemed, forgiven, held together, reconciled, holy, blameless, beyond reproach, firmly established, steadfast, not moved away, complete, wealthy with the treasures of full assurance of understanding in a true knowledge of Christ Himself being in us (Jew and Gentile alike), circumcised of Christ, buried with Him, baptized with Him, raised with Him, made Alive with Him, triumphed through Him, chosen by Him, beloved by Him, having a New self, which is His-self in us, and united together in Him and His Peace, all by, in, through, because of, found in, and made possible by Him and Him alone! Redundancy is annoying, but it do make a point!! :)

I love how Paul reminds of who, how, what, where and when we are because of Christ and in Christ and by Christ, and not by, in, with, for, or because of ourselves or anyone else! And then he proceeds to warn us of those who continually pull our attention, focus, direction and minds away from this Truth Whom and which is where the Peace of GOD is found, onto the religious realm of such things that have only an appearance of wisdom in all that is self-made such as: self-abasement, false humilities, worshiping of angels, following after those who stand firm on their own visions and are inflated without cause by their own fleshly minds, and they do not hold fast to Jesus Christ and Him alone Who is the Head from Whom the entire Body of Christ is being supplied and held together by the joints and ligaments, growing with the growth that is from GOD!

These are those whose messages we are to avoid and protect ourselves and each other from, otherwise we are robbed of our assurances and peace and awareness of the prize, wealth, and treasure that we have in the knowledge of Christ and Who He is and what He has done for us, to us, and in us!!

This begs the question: If we have all and are all in Christ, then why do we go after and seek for that which we already have somewhere else and from someone else? Is it not because the deception is already so enmeshed in our minds that we spend most of our time needing to be deprogrammed from it?

We seek to be 'right with GOD'. Christ took care of that. Only He could. Done deal!
We seek for the 'peace of and with GOD'. Christ provided that for us, as only He could. Done deal!
We seek to have 'fellowship with GOD'. Christ provided that for us, as only He could. Done deal!
We seek the 'favor of GOD'. Christ provided that for us, as only He could. Done deal!
We seek 'forgiveness'. Christ provided that for us, as only He could. Done deal!
We seek to be in the Light. Christ is the Light and is now in us. How much more Light can anyone attain?
We seek the Love of GOD. Christ is the Love of GOD personified and is now in us. There is no other true Love to obtain.
We seek security. If GOD in Christ is in you, how much more security do you need?
We could go on and on ... but it is all found in Christ already! We seek for all that we already have! The deception comes in various subtleties and sometimes with not so much subtleness, convincing us that we do not have what we already have in Christ, and that we are not who we already have been made in Him. The deception is that we need more and have not enough. That speaks blatantly that Christ is not our sufficiency and that what He did was not good enough or complete. Well if it is good enough for GOD, why is it not good enough for us? Was that not the original lie ... that Adam and Eve were not good enough? That what GOD had done was not sufficient or good enough? That more was needed and could be attained? GOD HIMself spoke and proclaimed that it is good!! HE was satisfied with HIS work.

If it has been DONE, then why do we live as if more needs to be done? There can not be contentment, peace, or security in such mind-frames. Why should we find ourselves as tho' we are stuck in the hell and mind-set of the world with all of its forever - bondage to the compare - games and various other entrapments.

Christ has set us free! In Him we stand! In Him we walk! In Him we Live! In Him we are! In Him we be! :)

"nthmdst"


Posted: Dec-18-04 by the shovel
(This is a response to an anonymous comment)

I suspect most our beliefs about the will of God center around the intense need to feel justified in what we think and do. We want answers that make sense to our current viewpoints and experiences, for to say "It's God's will" probably has less to do with God (and our thoughts of God) than with our desire to not feel bad about another's pain and suffering. Especially when we benefit from the other's loss. It provides thumb-sucking comfort and relief ... one that seems to be validated by God himself.

"Which is easier, to say, 'Your sins are forgiven,' or to say, 'Get up, and walk'?" (Matt 9:5)

It was not because one statement was less valid than the other, only that in the current word-based religion Jesus' words had been judged according to their own powerless verbal expressions. The religious community spoke of forgiveness all the time, but it was bound within the confines of strict scriptural legalities. This is to say, they all recognized their communication portrayed no REAL forgiveness - as that was entirely outside the scope of their belief system - but merely an official ritualistic satisfaction regarding the need for forgiveness. Thumb-sucking comfort.

This is the same reason why most talk of God's will is so impotent, so lacking any reality. It is not usually spoken to encourage faith and confidence but to force God's stamp of approval upon one's view of how things are working - or not working - out. It's just an easy thing to say. Speaking of the real will of God (Christ) especially as it contradicts the status quo will be judged by religious thumb-suckers according to their established teachings. Be not afraid to speak words of power - which is Christ and him crucified - though you be judged by authoritative sounding doctrines that would make you seem to be the enemy of God.

Love, Jim


Posted: Dec-21-04 by Kevin Kim

Christ crucified = Reconciliation = God in complete control of
circumstances/future in our lives?


Posted: Mar-07-05 by john e

To Sherri: "Well . . . AMEN!"


Posted: May-09-05 by csnarnia

My wife and I just struggled over this issue. She had her ticket to fly half way around the world literally and the day she was to leave I had "second thoughts." I really wanted her to go and so did she. We prayed together for direction and and ask a few friends for some quick counsel...hey the plans leaves in a few hours I resorted to "casting lots" and came up with the same answer three times in a row....but my precious wife couldn't accept that....She wanted to hear straight from me. "Honey I really believe it's God's will for you to go." After three lots in favor of going I was convinced it was time for her to go...but the whole situation confused her and she began to see all kinds of technical reasons why she wasn't ready to go...all of which were good reasons and could have been worked out through the day or after she arrived on the other end.

To make matters worse I am one of those confused, in fear, immobilized Christians quite a bit of the time. Big decisions and especially the assurance of salvation issue has been a mountain in my life over the last 25 year or so.

My father was a pastor and preached the cross, justification by faith and baptism as I perceived it. But he told me as a young man. "I believe as soon as man begins to believe in Jesus he is saved cause that can only be done by the Holy Spirit." But by then I was firmly caught in the the religious trap of many year of misperceptions.

Anyway my question is:

Is it a sin for a man to not have assurance of salvation?

I've only been reading your the shovel a week or so see a lot of grace here.


Posted: May-12-05 by the shovel

« Is it a sin for a man to not have assurance of salvation? »

If we sum all things up according to the law then I am sure we could pronounce such a "failure" as sin ... but then again, we are not of the law but of Christ.

We have for too long listened to the demand that we need to see things according to the flesh. Sin-consciousness forces us to judge everything as to whether it is sin or not. This is not life. Hear the voice of your father who by Christ has made all things new. :)

Jim

Jim, Paul often talks as if he has it all nicely figured out. This really annoys me, for I don’t have it all neatly figured out, and am unable to have it that way. How does Paul, as it appears to be the case, managed to live so fully in Christ and I am so pathetic in my understanding and consequently in my walk? Sometimes I am so filled with anger at this guy I want to smack him with his own writings.
theshovel's picture

Figured out, you wonder? I instead read a man who realized there was no way to figure it out. For through all those futile attempts we have set ourselves up for the same failure you refer to. When you stop trying to figure it all out, you will probably find great encouragement where you are now only filled with anger.

Jim

Hi Jim, But how do I stop? Every day some lie comes my way saying that I am supposed to get it all figured out so as to find some sense of security in the futility of the limitation of an understanding that is concerned with something that is subject to an end. I am unable to protect myself against the very presence of the world, which by its presence attempts to indoctrinate me into the framework by which it operates, which is this annoying familiarity as if everything is all nicely figured out, whereas in fact we don’t know shit even regarding the tiniest speck of dust.
theshovel's picture

My friend, you are already convinced that all your efforts are futile, and that includes the efforts of that old fleshly reasoning power that can't reason beyond its finite limitations. Why would you fear the presence of the world when you've already seen behind the thin facade of its framework? It's bogus and you know it. How do you stop? I imagine that when you've sufficiently worn yourself out, it'll wind down on its own. Never forget that HE knows what you're going through, and HE knows your limits. Believe me, HE can handle the effects of your struggle.

Jim

Visitor, Jim can say these things because he KNOWS that the Spirit is IN you. He[God] will work IN you to clear up those things that you need to know. Sometimes in the most odd ways like even in things like you are expressing this very moment. Hope this encourages you. Please feel free to ask questions and share whats going on inside you!

Hi, Thank you for your encouragement. The thing is that I don’t know what is going on inside me. This is precisely why the world can convince me of things that kill me, for I cannot perceive beyond the appearance it seems. I don’t know who or what I am, I don’t know who and what God or Christ is. Or maybe I do know but it doesn’t fit the expectation of my indoctrinated mind? Tired of trying to figure it out.
theshovel's picture

My friend, there is far more to you than you could ever imagine, for your life is hidden in Christ Jesus. Even though this may seem totally absurd for me to say, you are in a good place, for you are having your illusionary world shattered. In the letter of Hebrews, it is written:

This expression, “Yet once more,” denotes the removing of those things which can be shaken, as of created things, so that those things which cannot be shaken may remain.  Hebrews 12:27

Your world has been shaken quite a bit lately, and you've been trying to keep it together. But you're getting worn out and discouraged in the process. But as it keeps falling down around you, you will discover that you already know God ... because of the one who is in you right now. His life is that which cannot be shaken. He is what remains. Then you will see that you remain because you have been joined together with God through him.

Jim

Thanks Jim. I am becoming more aware of the benefits of the conflicts within me, because they reveal what is an illusion and what is a living reality.

..Hello again Visitor, Yes I very much hear you. I too know what it means to have other voices clouding our reality in Him. The exciting thing that will be revealed to you in this is that you do indeed ALREADY know God. You have just been pulled off of that reality for a time. Adam

Whats the point in trying to make it in this world when God made it for us? - justin

It is interesting how those who are teaching fleshly knowledge [law] have encouraged us with a doctrine that SEEMS to correlate with what Paul and John were conveying in the scriptures. For we were taught that the world was to be resisted and fought at every corner. Instead of the realization that as we go through all things in life, we simply find the reality of Christ in it. Christian doctrine tells us we are engaged in an effort filled battle between resisting evil and upholding good. When in reality we simply go through life having it revealed to us. We were also taught that some are better at obeying and hearing God. But the more we give into that outward ideal, the more we find the failures of the flesh showing up in our bodies. Which by the way further convinces us of this lie. Why? Because that way of living is based on the elements of this world and not on Christ. It’s based on the flesh and law and only stimulates the very thing it is attempting to rid itself from. It is an affront to Christ.

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Random Shovelquote: Bible in view of Christ (view all shovelquotes)

If we were to hear those [Biblical] statements in view of the connected demands as to our new life in Christ, the idea of attempting to constantly review every possible principle in order to do the right thing would never fly. source