“God blesses those who work for peace, for they will be called the children of God.” (Matthew 5:9 NLT)
Last time we focused on this blessing: “the pure in heart will see God.” With pure hearts, we see God change our individual lives. We see God change the lives of fellow Kingdom Disciples. He invites us to “Enjoy the companionship of those who call on the Lord with pure hearts.” (II Timothy 2:22b)
In companionship with other Kingdom Disciples, we call on the Lord, getting to know His ways and His purposes. God gives us vision for transformed communities and societies. Jesus-Centered fellowships have incredible potential for spreading the blessings of God’s Kingdom. To the extent we obey Jesus and love one another we are an unstoppable force.
The march toward Kingdom Advance must be a peace march. Conflict will arise. Conflict between believers can be the most painful if left unresolved. We must not allow conflict to divide and break our unity. “God blesses those who work for peace.”
Years ago I learned this lesson firsthand. I was a member of a ministry team focused upon helping poor communities where Jesus was not yet known. Weekly we met to evaluate our progress and make plans. I entered meetings with enthusiasm but left frustrated. Nearly every time, during our talks I found some little issue to disagree with and argue over. Not only would I get tense but so did all the others. Our leader found me and these constant conflicts difficult.
One day he came to my door and greeted me with his usual warm smile. As we sat, he told me of his concern: “Have you noticed how often you argue and become angry during our meetings? I am wondering what causes this.” Something about his tone communicated a genuine love for me. I found it easy to open up. I confessed my constant negative reactions were also frustrating me.
He asked if arguments and anger were common at home when I grew up. Memories flooded in. It was true of my immediate family and my extended family. “Would you like to pray? We can ask Jesus to free you.” Conflicts within me caused conflicts with others. I yearned for freedom. Quickly we both joined in prayer. I was set free! I made peace with myself and made peace with others. Our meetings improved and unity returned.
I was blessed by a peacemaker. Receiving peace enabled me to work for peace with others. God wants all of us to experience peace within ourselves and among ourselves. When this happens, Jesus’ prayer to the Father for us is being answered: “May they experience such perfect unity that the world will know that You sent Me and that You love them as much as You love Me.” As peacemakers, even the world will recognize us as the children of God…and His Kingdom will appear to them as more inviting.
Question for reflection: Romans 12:18 says, “Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone.” When faced with conflict, what steps do you take to work for peace?
Kingdom prayer: Lord Jesus, teach us how to live in love and peace. In agreement with Your prayer, we ask that we would experience such perfect unity that the world will know that the Father sent You and that He loves us as much as He loves You. Amen.