As we continue in our Beatitudes journey, here is our path so far:
Poor in spirit / destitute (v. 3) -> mourning over our sin / broken (v. 4) -> meekness / empty (v. 5) -> hunger & thirst for righteousness -> fulfillment / satisfaction (v.6) -> merciful to others (v. 7) -> pure in heart (v. 8)
Jesus describes the next step along the Beatitudes journey:
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.”
(Matthew 5:9 NIV)
The Greek word Jesus uses for “peacemaker” is actually a concatenation of two other words:
– “Peace” (rest, quietness, peace)
– “Maker” (to do, make, bring forth, commit, cause, work, show, bear, keep, etc.)
Thus, a peacemaker is one who works to bring quietness and rest to a war-torn life.
Jesus understands the devastating effect that sin has on the world. Sin generates strife and wars both inside us and outside with others, as we cease putting God first, and make our own selfish wants our first priority. When we put our own selfish interests first, we are at odds with God first and foremost, and this leads to being at odds with everyone else.
Jesus did not promise a life of comfort and convenience after we come to Him; in fact, He said just the opposite. But He also promised something only He can give: Peace. Peace with God, and then peace with those around us.
Jesus was the ultimate peace-maker, stepping in between God and us. And it cost Him His life to do so. Paul reminds us of Jesus’ personal sacrifice to bring peace between God and man:
“Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ…”
(Romans 5:1 NIV)
As we allow God to clean out the junk in our lives and replace that space with His love, righteousness, and mercy, we have peace and contentment and fulfillment in Him. This allows us to first of all live in wisdom and self-control, and secondly, to share with others out of the abundance God has given us.
Paul reminds us about our God-given power in living with others – both Christ-followers as well as everyone else:
“If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.”
(Romans 12:18 NIV)
So what is the benefit of taking the high road, and being a peace-maker? First of all, it identifies us as one of God’s redeemed, His children. John reminds us that God calls us His children (John 1:12).
Another benefit is that others (those who are not Christ followers) see our example, and God uses our life to draw them to Himself. So what does this look like? What do they see that stands in such sharp contrast to the rest of the world?
- Not having to have the last word
- Forgiving of wrongs against us
- Asking for forgiveness from others
- Having patience with others
- Exhibiting a calm spirit in the midst of chaos
- Speaking to others in gentleness, especially when correcting or disciplining
- Using our power wisely, and respecting boundaries with others (Proverbs 26:17)
- Bearing up under wrongful accusations and insults, even when they defame our name and character
Only by God’s grace and Spirit can we live this way – it’s not possible on our own power.
Have we made peace with the Peace-Maker, so we can offer the same to others today?