(Sorry about the previous post, folks – I hit the wrong button and posted too soon!)
15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. 16 Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. 17 And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
(Colossians 3:15-17 NIV)
Paul finished up his description of our “clothes” of Christ in the last section. Today, Paul talks about the practical outworkings of our walk with Christ in three areas: the peace of Christ, the message of Christ, and the name of the Lord Jesus.
Paul begins with the peace of Christ and tells us to let it rule in our hearts. Let’s unpack a few of these words to help set the context for what Paul is saying.
The word Paul uses for “peace” means the absence of war; it means harmony among two people. Paul gently reminds us that before we came to Christ, we were enemies with God. Only when we surrender to Christ do we have peace with God.
Paul also tells us to let that peace that God gives us must rule in our hearts. The word “rule” mean to officiate or umpire. Rather than having a restless heart, the Lord gives us peace that passes all understanding. In Paul’s letter to the Philippian church, he says, “And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:7 NIV) Paul says that our calling in the body of Christ (how we relate to one another) is to peace, not strife or other selfish dysfunctions. Again, that peace can only come from God.
Paul also reminds us to be thankful for that peace that comes from God.
Next, Paul tells us to let the message (words) of Christ dwell richly among us. Paul gives us some hints on how the message of Christ is to be used – for teaching, admonishing (gentle instruction and correction), and for worship (through singing and reading God’s Word in group gatherings).
Notice that Paul lists the peace of Christ first, before the message of Christ. We must have that peace with God first and peace with others before we can effectively worship the Lord on our own or with others. Paul tacked on thankfulness when he talked about peace; Paul now adds gratitude as the underlying attitude to have as Christ’s message dwells among us.
Last but not least, Paul tells us that the name of the Lord Jesus must be forefront in everything we think, say, and do. Remember, this life is not about us – it’s all about Him. Once again, Paul tells us that our words and deeds are to be offered in a spirit of thankfulness.
God loves us unconditionally – He even likes us and wants to spend time with us. Our lives are not to be spent trying to earn His favor, but rather, given back to Him in gratitude for all He has done for us. It’s the least we can do.