The Attractional Lifestyle Of The Kingdom #6
In the last note, we outlined the process of spiritual character transformation and how it results in a change of our actions. Continuing the series on the Attractional Lifestyle Of The Kingdom, we delve a little deeper into these actions and their outcome: peace.
Jesus continues his message about the blessed kingdom life in verse nine. He states: “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God” (Matt 5:9 ESV). One of the significant manifestations of the Kingdom lifestyle is a peace that goes beyond what the world can give.
The blessedness of the Kingdom is the result of a transformation of spiritual character. The fruit of this new character is demonstrated by actions that are much different than those of a worldly mindset. One of the key manifestations is the presence of peace, which exists even under less than ideal situations.
As I write today, our world is in turmoil. Unemployment is high, the economies of many countries are failing and there is an escalation of tensions in the Middle East. In many places there is ethnic persecution, starvation and disease: life expectancy is short for many. In the midst of this turmoil and fear, there is a longing for peace. Yet, what is peace?
I believe our world has a wrong concept of peace. For many, the resolution of the aforementioned issues is their definition of peace. Unfortunately, the absence of conflict or hostilities does not necessarily equate to peace. There can be a lack of violence, but an ongoing animosity or enmity can still exist. This can be a found in a national, ethnic or even familial arena, producing an underlying tension that steals peace.
The source of this lack of peace can be traced back to the fallen nature of man. Now, before I get into this, I am making the assumption that readers have basic bible knowledge of Adam and the fall, along with the stories of the Old Testament. It is not my intent here to give a thorough exegesis of the fallen nature of man. That being said…
From the first of the fall, Adam’s peace was destroyed. When God came looking for him in the garden, Adam responded that he was afraid! Adam and Eve sought ways to cover their discomfort. From this point on, we see the pursuit of man’s self-interests becoming the point of contention and strife, resulting in a lack of peace.
A World Of Strife
The fallen nature of man is to seek our self-interests. There is a desire to make our lives comfortable and secure. From this perspective we determine what is right or wrong for ourselves, making assumptions, we convince ourselves of things that we “need.” These desires become problematic when we allow them to over-ride reason, ethics or morals. From here it is easy to justify the actions necessary to try and fulfill these “needs.”
Many of the world’s conflict: between nations, ethnic groups and even individuals are because someone felt they needed or deserve something somebody else possessed. So we do what is necessary to get it.
So this produces a lack of peace in two ways. First, there is always something we feel we are lacking. Second, the attempted fulfillment of these “needs” infringes upon another person’s life.
Kingdoms In Conflict
To bring further spiritual application here: the Kingdom of heaven and the kingdom of darkness are in perpetual warfare.
The fallen nature of man is in rebellion against God. Sometimes it is open and active, some covertly and passive. Much of what we experience in our world is under the influence of godless people and does not reflect Kingdom values. The enticement of sin is continually paraded before lives, tempting us, telling us we are lacking and deserve to have it our way. (Can you say advertising!)
It is in the midst of this turmoil and conflict that God has place his kingdom and it’s radically different culture. It is his desire to bring peace: to the individual first, via the new birth, then the world as a whole. (Obviously this will ultimately happen when He returns to reign for 1000 years). His desire is not necessarily to negotiate peace settlements to end wars, but it is to put an end to the enmity between Himself and sinful mankind.
Peacemakers ~ The Nature Of The King
Numerous texts from the word of God proclaim to us: God is the God of peace. We understand that Jesus is the “Prince of peace” and his birth was welcomed with the angels’ singing, “Peace on earth.” So we must grasp the nature of our King: He is the great Peacemaker. His method of peacemaking is not a negotiated truce, but He made peace through the blood of his cross. If we are his, we must follow his example. If we are truly His, we have his peace; it will keep our hearts, it rules there. Those who have peace themselves are the best peacemakers.
Character That Pursues Peace
Since the King’s nature is to be a peacemaker, naturally his subjects should also pursue peace. It should be our desire to see this blessing in the lives of others. Thus Jesus statements in verse nine: “blessed are the peacemakers.” The progression of our spiritual transformation should produce in us a passion for peace.
Passion For Peace
It was God’s passion to do away with the enmity between man and Himself that compelled him to bring peace to this broken relationship. Likewise, a passion for His peace will drive us to see it accomplished in the hearts of others.
In my opinion, too much of Christendom seeks only the salvation experience and then a mutual coexistence as we wait for our eternal rewards. But God wants us to be passionate about bringing peace to others beyond the new birth. This peace only comes from the Lordship of Jesus in our individual lives. This is the result of the spiritual transformation we have spoken of.
True kingdom culture is a desire to see others experience the peace of God. Paul tells the church in Corinth, as an ambassador for Christ that he was begging them to be reconciled to God! (2 Cor 5:20) Paul understood it was in reconciliation people would discover the peace that Jesus brings.
The price of this peace was Jesus blood. Again, Paul tells us he reconciled things to himself by “making peace by the blood of his cross.” The sacrifice of Jesus results in our being without spot or blemish before him, reconciled and no longer alienated from God. If he valued peace enough to shed innocent blood
How much more should I be passionate about using it to be a peacemaker?
Pursuit of Peace
Peter tell us that those who love life and desire good days are to peruse peace. “Whoever desires to love life and see good days, let him keep his tongue from evil and his lips from speaking deceit; let him turn away from evil and do good; let him seek peace and pursue it.” (1 Peter 3:10-11)
To pursue here means to aggressively chase, like a hunter would pursue a catch. It is to pursue with al haste, desiring to over take or apprehend something. It is to relentlessly hunt something down.
Paul is a classic example of pursuit. He was a persecutor of God’s people, relentlessly hunting them down in the name of his god. We see that God did the same to him on the Damascus road. As a result, we see a transfer of Paul’s desire. Instead of persecution, he pursued those who were alienated from God and brought them back into a relationship with Him. Thus restoring peace: to their relationship and lives.
As Kingdom representatives we should pursue peace. First, in all areas of our personal relationships and then in the lives of those who do not know our King, Jesus. It should be a relentless effort on our part to bring peace to the micro-cultures we are involved in. At work, school, community activities, neighborhoods and personal relationship we should be the peacemakers. Let it never be said of a disciple of Jesus that we were instigators of turmoil and tension.
The Prize Of Peace
Jesus said the reward of a peacemaker was “blessedness,” a sense of happiness and fulfillment. What greater sense of accomplishment can we have than to see our environment and others experience the peace of Jesus Christ!
Further, Jesus says this individual would be “called the sons of God.” Because this person is exhibiting the nature of our heavenly father and pursuing the passion of our father, peace, it will be noted they are acting like their Father. With this demonstration, they will become known as sons of God!
The ultimate evidence of a transformed character is to act like our heavenly Father and pursue peace – be a peacemaker!
Other posts in the Attractional Lifestyle Of The Kingdom Series
- Are You Attractive? – The Attractional Lifestyle Of The Kingdom #1
- The Kingdom Is His Plan – The Attractional Lifestyle Of The Kingdom #2
- Discovering The Kingdom Culture – The Attractional Lifestyle Of The Kingdom #3
- Finding Happiness – The Attractional Lifestyle Of The Kingdom #4
- Blessed: The Fruit Of Character ~ The Attractional Lifestyle Of The Kingdom #5
Dr Martin lives in St Louis MO, with his wife Ava and their dog Zoe. His ministry focus is the principles of Kingdom Authority that empower believers to use their spiritual gifts, demonstrating the miraculous power of Jesus and his kingdom. The results: increased faith and the potential for greater revival and harvest. He is available to speak to your local assembly, organization or ministry. For more information, check us out here
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