“Peace on earth” is part of Christmas. The peace Jesus brought was peace that is found in Him and in His family, the church. It’s an individual peace.
24 A person’s steps are directed by the LORD. How then can anyone understand their own way [understand why God leads us as He does]?
Faith is believing enough in what God said to act on it. We don’t consider an alternate route or plan; we trust the LORD to be right and to be working His plan. It’s not blind faith, either. Blind faith is believing something just because we want it to be true even if the evidence points another direction (ex. evolution-Irreducible Complexity). Our faith is based upon the Word of God. We trusted it for salvation–why don’t we trust it for daily living? Paul taught us how in Colossians 3. We pick up at verse 15.
15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace.
Trusting in Christ is where we get our peace. Is He King of kings and Lord of lords? Is He King of the universe? Does He have our best interest at heart? Yes! He is both great and good. He gives us His peace (John 14:27). It’s a peace that transcends all understanding (Philippians 4:7). We are called to peace WITH HIM. We are members of His very own body (Ephesians 2:21)! We CAN experience His peace whenever we turn to Him.
And be thankful.
Grateful should be the mantra of every Christian. Paul states why earlier in His letter to the Colossians, “For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins” (1:13-14). And, he’ll tell us in our next verse to sing with gratitude in our hearts.
16 Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit [spiritual songs], singing to God with gratitude in your hearts.
What we must remember is that the Scriptures were public. They were read publicly because there weren’t enough copies for everyone. In fact, no one had a complete set of books until at least 350 AD. Consequently, in order for the people of Colossae to “let the message of Christ dwell among them richly,” they had to meet together and read whatever portion of the Old Testament they had publicly. This letter was designed to be read publicly to the church body; it was probably intended to be passed along to another church, just like the letter to the Ephesians. They would memorize portions of it and teach each other as well as correct each other. The key is “with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs,” which I take to mean that they put portions of Scripture to music and made creeds of Jesus’ teachings and events (see 1 Corinthians 15:1-8) in order to memorize truth. We do the same thing. And how are we to sing to God? With gratitude in our hearts. Now, THAT’S WORSHIP!
17 And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
This verse gives us the attitude by which we live our daily lives:
- Whatever we do- Everything we do is important. There is nothing too small or too insignificant to fall under the radar of our Lord.
- Whether in word or deed- What we say and what we do, it’s all important to the Lord Jesus. He wants us to represent Him ALL the time.
- Do it in the name of the Lord Jesus- We are His ambassadors (2 Corinthians 5:20). We could spend a lot of time talking about what it means, “in Jesus’ name.” Suffice it to say that it is in His name that we are protected from the evil one (see John 17:11 and 15) and spread the fragrance of Christ (2 Corinthians 2:15-16). We live and breathe and have our being in the power of His name.
- Giving thanks to God the Father through Him- Here we are back to gratitude. We owe Him SO MUCH! We bless the Father through the Son by way of the Spirit (Romans 8:26).
If we could read chapter 3 of Colossians every day and apply it to our lives, we would:
- Set our hearts on things above,
- Put to death our earthly nature,
- Rid ourselves of sinful thoughts and speech,
- Take off our old self with its practices,
- Put on the new self, which is being renewed (renovated) in the continual knowledge of Him,
- Understand that all of Christ’s children are equal in Him,
- Clothe ourselves with the fruit of the Spirit,
- Bear with each other and forgive each other,
- Put on love as our overall virtue,
- Let Christ’s peace rule in our hearts,
- Be thankful and grateful,
- Let the word of Christ dwell in us richly,
- Teach and admonish each other in His Wisdom,
- Sing the Scriptures together as we memorize passages and truths, with gratitude in our hearts,
- And do everything, whether in word or deed, in the powerful name of the Lord Jesus,
- All the while giving thanks to God through Jesus.
I think we’re gonna need a little help here. Holy Spirit, HELP! Thank God, He gives it!
Summary: We can do all things through Christ who gives us both the desire and the power to do His will through His Spirit within us. It’s a daily thing.
Let’s end with this benediction:
But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain. 1 Corinthians 15:57-58.
Abba, I grow weary sometimes, but I realize that it’s my flesh talking. Of course I grow weary! I live in an old-covenant body that is destined to die. Thank You that You renew me on the inside daily, even constantly. I want to be transformed by the renewing of my mind and attitude. I realize that the best way to do this is to pray and then read Your Word. You speak to my heart even as I read! Thank You for the way You open up our minds as we read and meditate on what You considered so important to write down and preserve for us. May we never take Your Scriptures for granted. We worship You today in Spirit and in Your truth. Amen.