Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord. - Hebrews 12:14
While I love the directive of this verse - it's caution is alarming. Strive for peace ~ with everyone ~ and for holiness...because without those, we will not see the Lord. In other words, if we are not at peace with everyone in our lives, or if we are not working toward greater holiness in our lives, then we will not see Him. It doesn't give any room for interpretation here - we strive for peace, or we don’t see the Lord.
I want to represent Him well in this world, so I continually lean in to where He wants me to change. We wrestle and struggle in this broken world because it’s full of sinners who hurt and cause conflict. It’s hard to love difficult people, and it’s hard to love people who live in direct contrast to how God calls us to live. There seems to be this constant tension between how God calls us to live and how the world tells us to live. I want my life to be pleasing to God, so my instinct is to stay away from people who don’t love as God calls us to live. But God says strive for peace with everyone - including these people or you won’t see me.
Striving tells me I need to work at making peace in my relationships. Not only do I need to be intentional about avoiding conflict, but it also means I have to consider what impression my words or my actions have on other people. I am responsible for the perceptions people have of me because that impacts my ability to be at peace with everyone. If they perceive me to be harsh or unfair, I am not at peace with them. This can be difficult when the call on my life is also to share His truth with others. His truth can cause conflict with others. I am never to deny His truth, but the way I share it should leave me in a state of peace with all people. That’s beyond challenging in a world that immediately jumps to offense at God’s Word.
I think this is why God uses the word strive - because it’s work. But I want to hear, “well done, good and faithful servant” as I see my Savior at the end of this journey, so i must continue to strive for peace with everyone. I want to be the person He wants me to be in this life, so I continue to lean in and look for where my life doesn’t match up with His call for me, recognizing that I could never do this in my own power. It is only because He lives in me that I can continue to work toward peace with everyone.
Press on ~ you are loved 💗
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