Do Peace

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.”

Matthew 5:9

Make peace; do peace, and you will be blessed, being recognized as a child of God. It is our obligation as believers to be the vanguard of peace among the lives of those around us. Forgiveness is the basis of all peace.

When wrongs are committed between individuals, the faithful believer must look beyond the immediate injury to the larger objective of peace and unity. There is no denial a wrong has been committed, just a positive affirmation that is intentionally offered to overcome the sting of the injustice.

However, if we become caught up among the stirrers of dissent and factionism by pressing our righteous indignation at every offense, we are denying our heritage as makers of peace in the character and likeness of Messiah and his kingdom.

“…for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. For he who in this [way] serves Christ is acceptable to God and approved by men. So then we pursue the things which make for peace and the building up of one another.”

Romans 14:17-19

Trust in God

“So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

Matthew 6:34

Do not be anxious about what hasn’t happened yet; let the future carry its own anxieties. If we continue to be anxious about every aspect of our life, can we, as believers, truly be considered to be trusting God? If we are trusting him, aren’t we trusting him for everything?

“For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out,” (1 Timothy 6:7). If we have come with nothing and will be leaving with nothing, what is the value of what remains? “And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content,” (1 Timothy 6:8).

Instead, let’s replace our anxieties of an unknown future with gratefulness for what we do have. God has not provided us the ability to foresee the future, but if you are reading these words right now, he has given us today. Let’s live for him and his kingdom in the here and now.

Holiness

“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.”

Matthew 5:8

Have a pure and blameless heart at all times, and you will be blessed, seeing God. The heart, in this sense, is the wellspring of who you are physically and ethically.

Your heart needs to be continually purified, as if through the cleansing effect of fire on precious metals, refining them until they have no contrary elements left.

It is like a vine that is pruned of dead, unproductive branches so that the plant has the energy and room to bear more fruit.

It is the state of being free from a mixture of false and true until only what is sincere and genuine remains.

Living in this way is what sets you apart from the rest of humanity; this is what holiness is.

Vigilance

“If your right eye makes you stumble, tear it out and throw it from you; for it is better for you to lose one of the parts of your body, than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. “If your right hand makes you stumble, cut it off and throw it from you; for it is better for you to lose one of the parts of your body, than for your whole body to go into hell.

Matthew 5:29-30

All stumbling-blocks to righteousness must be removed from your life with extreme diligence. If you desire to be righteous and holy in God’s sight, then you must be relentlessly severe in removing those things from your life that stand between you and him. There are no other options. It is a matter of life or death, not just a self-improvement program. You MUST die to yourself and your own selfish ways if you are to live for him.

Living with Integrity

“For I say to you that unless your righteousness surpasses [that] of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.”

Matthew 5:20

This principle is summed up by its paraphrase: “Demonstrate virtue and purity that exceeds those who are merely following external commands.”

A life of integrity is one that is not driven solely by a list of do’s and don’ts. Right actions should spring from a willing heart, not from a grudging sense of obligation. It’s not just a matter of doing the right thing, but doing the right thing for the right reasons, with the right attitude.

Once the heart is sincere and motives are pure, actions of true integrity will follow.

The beginning of the Kingdom of God

Moses went up to God, and the LORD called to him from the mountain, saying, “Thus you shall say to the house of Jacob and tell the sons of Israel: ‘You yourselves have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and [how] I bore you on eagles’ wings, and brought you to Myself. ‘Now then, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be My own possession among all the peoples, for all the earth is Mine; and you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words that you shall speak to the sons of Israel.”

Exodus 19:3-6

This is the first mention in the Bible of a physical, identifiable kingdom related to God’s purpose and will among men. At Sinai, God was setting apart a people for himself. The Kingdom would become a theme and pattern woven throughout the rest of the biblical narrative.