The quest for God to tell us His will specifically and subjectively or mystically within our spirit has led to the “heart–peace” principle—-that is, if you have peace about a subject, it must be the will of God.
A misunderstanding here has led to a subjective focus in discerning God’s will rather than letting scriptural commands, principles, and examples be our guide.
After giving a series of instructions to the church at Thessalonica, Paul declared that because of their obedience “the peace of God, which passes all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Phil 4:7).
Peace is not a signpost that comes and goes, as a green or red traffic light; it is a perpetual part of the new life in Christ and the corporate experience.
The command to let the peace of Christ “be continually in control” comes from the same root word used to describe the function of an umpire or arbitrator to maintain the proper playing conditions in an athletic game. The umpire does not tell players what to do but warns when they have violated the rules.
The goal is to play in peace within the liberty of the rules. Paul gave the following guidelines to the church for this rule of peace: “The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you” (Phil 4:9). Paul taught the church to “[endeavor] to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Eph 4:3).
The command to allow peace to be in control means we should maintain a peaceful spirit within the body of Christ, instead of a conflictive, argumentative, or antagonistic spirit among our brethren. Anything that disturbs the peace among our brethren must be dealt with quickly to restore the peace within the body of believers.
The conclusion of the verse confirms the corporate sense of the command: “You were in fact called as one body to this peace”—-that is, the rule of peace is for the body of believers, and we are to “be continually thankful” for our privilege to be a part of such a peaceful church. Are you a peacemaker among your brethren?
“Lord Jesus, Your church is a refuge each week as my brothers and sisters gather to learn more about You. Teach us to practice Your principles and live together in Your peace.”
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