If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.– Romans 12:18
Spiritual people desire peace. We HAVE peace with God (Romans 5:1). We can be guarded by the peace of God (Philippians 4:7). To be spiritually minded IS peace (Romans 8:6). The Gospel we preach is peace (Romans 10:15). We should be looking forward to that future peace (Romans 14:17).
Are you getting this? Peace is central to every little aspect of our Spiritual walk. Peace is central to God’s economy! With peace being so foundational to our spiritual life, peace should EMANATE from us! But this isn’t always the case is it? This is why Paul really wants us to do EVERYTHING we POSSIBLY CAN to live peaceably.
It’s easy to focus on the word, “possible,” and pass over the word, “you.” The emphasis is on YOU. It may be tempting to say, “well, it’s impossible to have peace around So-and-So. Might as well give up.” It is true. There are going to be people who you WON’T be able to make peace with, but the emphasis is on YOU! Strive with ALL YOU GOT to live peaceably. Take every measure you can to make peace!
Firstly, we need to DESIRE peace on THEIR end. Notice something in Psalm 137. Judah is taken captive. They’re suffering in sorrow in a foreign land. The psalmist writes,
“By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down, yea, we wept, When we remembered Zion. We hanged our harps upon the willows in the midst thereof. For there they that carried us away captive required of us a song; And they that wasted us required of us mirth, Saying, Sing us one of the songs of Zion. How shall we sing the LORD’s song in a strange land?” – Psalm 137:1-4
That’s a pretty bleak picture isn’t it? People were torn from their families. They were forced out of their country. They lost all motivation to sing. But notice what Jeremiah tells them in Jeremiah 29:4-7 – “Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, unto all that are carried away captives, whom I have caused to be carried away from Jerusalem unto Babylon . . . seek the peace of the city whither I have caused you to be carried away captives, and pray unto the LORD for it: for in the peace thereof shall ye have peace” (v. 4,7). They were commanded to seek the peace of BABYLON! Can you imagine how much bitterness and hatred these Israelites had for Babylon?! And what were they supposed to do? SEEK their peace. But it doesn’t stop there. They were also to PRAY for it! The NIV changes the whole meaning of the verse. The NIV says the the Lord commanded the captives to “seek the peace and PROSPERITY of the city.” Really? Did God really want the captives to seek prosperity in this city. No! They were to seek after the things of GOD! In the following verses the Lord talks about how they are to search for the Lord with ALL their heart (v. 12-14). The same applies to us today. Next time someone ruffle up our feathers a bit – The next time we have someone stir up trouble with us, what do you think we as SPIRITUAL people should do? We should desire PEACE on THEIR end – not just ours – and PRAY for it. THAT’S our outlook we should have.
Secondly, we should be BLAMELESS in the pursuit of peace. We might not always be able to have peace with the world. In a matter of fact, Jesus told us we won’t. Jesus didn’t come the first time to bring peace like the Jews expected. He says “Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword” (Matthew 10:34). “51 Suppose ye that I am come to give peace on earth? I tell you, Nay; but rather division: 52 For from henceforth there shall be five in one house divided, three against two, and two against three. 53 The father shall be divided against the son, and the son against the father; the mother against the daughter, and the daughter against the mother; the mother in law against her daughter in law, and the daughter in law against her mother in law” (Luke 12:51-53).
At the same time, the Lord says “Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.” What does all this mean? In strife and contention, the problem should not be the Born-Again Believer. When the Lord mentions families being torn about, the families are being broken because of someone’s rejection of Christ. A son will trust in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, and because of his father’s rejection of the Lord, the relationship may be torn. The son should strive to do everything possible to make peace. If he does, but the relationship is still broken, the lack of peace ultimately follows from the father’s rejection of the Lord.
This is what Paul means by saying If it be possible, as much as lieth in you.” Though peace may not be possible, we should take EVERY measure we can to seek peace and pursue it. If there is a lack of peace in a relationship, we should make sure we’ve done OUR part. Our churches would be so much better. Our homes would so much more pleasant. The Lord says BLESSED are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God! That’s how God’s children should act! Make it as uncomfortable as you can for someone to get upset at you. Live PEACEABLY!