Section One: The Spiritual Characteristics of a Godly Life.
Our current theme: Characteristic Four: Being A Warrior.
Our reading for today: Philippians 4: 6-7 (MsgB)
Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.
As we mentioned last time, there is a massive difference between peace (as defined by our human existence) and shalom (the Hebrew word for peace). Peace, for most of us, simply means an absence of war or turbulence, while shalom is an expansive covering of well-being and wholeness that comes over our lives as a blessing from God.
Eugene Peterson, in his Message Bible, translates the word ‘peace’ well. Here in Philippians, Peterson takes what the NIV states as “the peace of God which transcends all understanding,” and says it this way…
a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down.
So when Paul tells his readers, in his letter to the Ephesians (6: 10-18), to put on the Shoes of Peace, he’s actually referring to, what I would call, Shalom Slippers!
You see, when you or I slip on a pair of those puppies, a magnificent sense of wholeness and rightness comes over us. A peace that is truly beyond our comprehension! And as Eugene Peterson translates it here in Philippians, God’s gift of shalom has the power to displace worry at the center of our lives!
Now, some would say that this gift alone, applied to my busy and hurried life, would be enough. But here comes the amazing part…
You and I, as dedicated followers of Christ, are not only blessed to become recipients of these amazing Shalom Slippers, we are also commissioned by Christ to walk out into the world with these Shoes of Peace on our feet and literally give that same shalom away to others in need!
Just think of it, folks.
In the economy of God, men and women who are disciples of Jesus (or ‘little-Christs’ as the word Christian defines it) can be so indwelled and empowered by the Holy Spirit that we can walk right into places where worry and anxiety are reigning in people’s lives, and by the unction of Christ’s commission upon us, speak peace (shalom) over those in great need. And it’s the knowledge and awareness of this amazing commission of shalom that encouraged St. Francis to pen his famous prayer…
Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace. Where there is hatred, let me sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; where there is sadness, joy.
Imagine with me for just a moment, if just a handful of humble, yet confident-in-shalom Christians made it their unique call and commission in life to slip on the Shoes of Peace, and walk out into our troubled world, offering shalom where there is none. Shalom where there is only hatred. Shalom where there is great injury. Shalom where there are mountains of doubt, despair, darkness, or sadness. What might our bruised and broken world look like if more Christ-followers made it their daily passion to be free distributors of shalom rather than proprietors of good advice? Offering shalom instead of criticism, shalom in place of correction?
As I see it, the true Jesus-commission might take on a whole different meaning in our generation if we only better understood our unique role in the world as Instruments of God’s Peace.
My prayer: Father, it’s worthy enough to pray once more…Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace. Where there is hatred, let me sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; where there is sadness, joy. For Your name’s sake. Amen.
My questions to ponder: What needs to change in my day-to-day living for Jesus so that the Shoes of Peace become my primary gift to the world around me? How might the people in my immediate circle of influence be blessed if I went out today, simply offering myself as an Instrument of God’s Peace (shalom)?
So what is God speaking to you today as we attempt to live the Christ-centered life?
Over a thirty-six week period, you and I will take a deeper look into twelve key characteristics of a godly life. In other words, we’ll take A Journey into Christian Discipleship. In order to keep all the blog sessions organized, we suggest you bookmark our Journey home page for ease of use. ENJOY!
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