"Let the peace of God rule in your heart" is easier said than done in the world we are living in right now. Just scrolling through the divisive memes and snarky comments on many Facebook pages or checking in on what's happening in the news can seem to steal a person's peace, can't it? Yet, if God tells us to let the peace of God rule in us, it must be possible. Let's look at the verse in context and see if we can find some clues on just how we let the peace of God rule within.
Keys to being ruled by peace from Colossians, Chapter Three
- Set your mind, and keep it set on what is above, the higher things, not on the things that are on the earth. (v.2) When the things of this world are robbing you of your peace and filling you with worry and anxiety and fear, reset your mind onto eternal things such as the fact that God is still ruling and reigning on His throne and over the nations.
- Your life is hidden with Christ in God. (v.3) You are wrapped up in the arms of Christ, surrounded by Him and His great love. Peace comes when we realize that nothing can happen to you unless it gets through Him first.
- Christ is coming again. (v.4) We may not know when, and theologians may argue the details, but the fact is that we serve a God who cannot lie, and He promised that the same resurrected Christ who the disciples saw ascend into heaven, will come again in like manner. What a promise, and what peace that truth gives!
- Don't participate in things that rob you of your heart peace. (v.5-9) Sexual sin, greed, idolatry, anger, these are just a few of the sins this passage tells us to rid ourselves of. It's not because God is a killjoy and doesn't want us to have any fun, but because these things hurt us. They rob us of the freedom, peace and joy that God wants us to experience as His children.
- Clothe yourself with life-giving things. (v.10-12) In prayer put on Christ's mercy, humility, gentleness, patience and endurance. Ask God to help you walk around all day, clothed in the attributes of Christ.
- Walk in forgiveness. (v.13-14) There is nothing that robs a person of peace as much as holding on to unforgiveness and fostering bitterness. It's impossible to be ruled by peace and bitterness at the same time. Forgiveness is an act of the will, a decision made not because the person who offended you earned or deserved it, but because you want to obey God. Getting rid of bitterness, however, can take time. Submit daily to the work of the Holy Spirit and ask Him to pull out all the roots of bitterness that have grown in your heart. Cleanse your mind and heart continually by reading and meditating on the Word of God. It's very healing for your wounded spirit.
- Live as one body with your brothers and sisters in Christ. (v. 15) The scripture says that wherever two or three are gathered together in His name that Christ is there with them. The Bible doesn't say, but I've found it to be frequently true, that wherever two to three are gathered together there will be disagreement! Strife and disunity and division are definitely peace robbers. It is essential that Christians believe and agree on the basics, like salvation through Jesus Christ alone, and the inerrancy, inspiration and authority of the Bible, but that still leaves a whole lot of things that believers won't see eye to eye about. It's then that we have to learn to live as one body by agreeing to disagree agreeably.
- Be thankful. (v. 15) Did you know that ingratitude is a blessing robber? (Deuteronomy 28:47 Amplified Bible, Classic Edition) It's also a peace robber. How can your mind and heart be ruled by peace if it's full of mumbling and murmuring and complaining about the life God has given you?
- Let God's Word dwell in your richly. (v. 16) What peace we'd have if our thoughts were ruled by the truth of God's Word instead of by what's trending on Facebook or the news! Why not start by reading Psalm 119 and writing down in your journal all the beneficial things God's Word, (this chapter also uses the words laws and testimonies), does in your life. It's amazing how beneficial God's Word is for us!
- Minister to others. (v. 16) Peace comes when we aren't self absorbed but are pouring out the good things God's doing in us on others. This verse tells us to share the riches of God's Word with others.
- Sing and worship. (v. 16) Make melody to God this verse instructs us. Nothing sets a heart right like worshiping in song!
- Do everything as unto the Lord. (v. 17, 23, 24) It's easy to lose your peace when you've finally finished all the laundry, but then you walk into the closet and see a pile of dirty clothes left behind by your beloved. The mind wants to go to thoughts like this, "He thinks I'm his slave. He can't even bother to put his dirty clothes in the laundry basket. Murmur, murmur, murmur, grumble, grumble, grumble." Whether it's housework, changing diapers, dealing with others on the job, or volunteering in the church nursery, developing a mindset that I'm going to do my best and do it with a good attitude as if I'm doing it for the Lord is what we're told to do in these verses. The good news is that God promises to reward us for doing our work with this mindset!
- Live in God's divine order. (v. 18-22) God runs everything in His universe in divine order. There's nothing confusing or chaotic in how He works. Before sin entered the world when Adam and Eve disobeyed God in the garden of Eden, divine order was automatic in the family. God was in charge of the beautiful creation He had made and Adam and Eve lived in perfect communion and union with Him and one another. After they sinned, what was formerly automatic, living in divine order, had to be instructed to Adam and Eve. Colossians 3 gives us some more detail of how we can live in loving divine order within the family. Not living and loving in the family the way God wants us to brings chaos and lack of peace.
Isn't it wonderful that when God tells us to let His peace rule, He gives us such practical revelation of how to do it? He's such a good Father! He truly wants us to live peace filled lives, even in the midst of the chaos in this world.