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“If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men.”—Romans 12:18 (NASB)
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. once said, “True peace is not merely the absence of tension.” But the truth is, we oftentimes settle for the absence of outward tension. Think about it . . . how often do you hear the words “peace” and “quiet” lumped together? “Why don’t you all go and play outside? Mom and Dad need a bit of peace and quiet.” “Class, please! There are other students still taking the test. Can we have a little peace and quiet?”
The funny thing is, even though we have bound these two things, they’re not at all the same . . . and yet, we so often settle for the latter—quiet—even if, beneath the surface, all out strife and conflict are taking place.
Let me get this out of the way now: When Paul says, “Be at peace with all men,” he is definitely not talking about quiet. He is also not talking about the absence of tension or conflict. The Greek word he uses here for living at peace is eirēneuontes. It describes “living in the condition of God’s peace; the gift of wholeness and; cultivating or keeping harmony and integrity.”
The apostle is calling us to be people who are peaceable, peaceful, and gentle. He’s calling us to be friendly, considerate, sincere, and full of mercy; to embody peace and goodwill and bring it out of people as they are soothed by our presence—as if being in the presence of Jesus. Do you live in a way that promotes peace with others and invokes peace in others? Are you effectively distributing the peace of God to those around you? If not, what’s keeping you from doing so?
For many, the reason is actually in the first part of today’s verse: “If possible, so far as it depends on you . . .” Often, we don’t live at peace with others because we’re depending on others. Our ability to live at peace isn’t dependent upon us, but upon everyone else.
At the end of the day, you can’t control what others do, but you can control what you do and how you react. Maybe they’ll commit acts of war, but that shouldn’t impact what you do! You should turn the other cheek and diffuse the peace of God. When I stand before the Lord, I’m not going to answer for how others treated me, just for how I lived and treated others in light of the gospel of Jesus.
DIG: Read Romans 12 and Matthew 5.
DISCOVER: How are you living right now? Are you seeking peace or just quiet? Are you depending on others for peace or are you bringing the peace of God into your relationships and interactions?
DISPLAY: Be a peacemaker today. Even when people are difficult or warring against you, diffuse every situation with peace and grace.
Danny Saavedra is a licensed minister who has served on staff at Calvary since 2012, managing the Calvary Devotional and digital discipleship resources. He has a Master of Arts in Pastoral Counseling and Master of Divinity in Pastoral Ministry from Liberty Theological Seminary. His wife Stephanie, son Jude, and daughter Zoe share a love of Star Wars, good food, having friends over for dinner, and studying the Word together as a family.