In pursuit of peace and holiness

dewdrop-367492_640Hebrews 12:14: Pursue peace with everyone, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord.

According to that verse, peace and holiness have to do with relationship with others and God respectively.

When Joseph was tempted by the wife of his master Potiphar to sleep with him (Genesis 39), he chose the path holiness, refusing to go along with the lustful desire of the randy woman.

Joseph experienced constant pressure from her which he had to cope with. And he did not have anywhere to go or anyone to hear him out, no one who will reason with him, be on his side. It was his word against hers and he landed in prison for upholding righteousness. When she wanted to force herself on him, he ran, leaving his coat in her hold. She screamed that she was almost raped by Joseph and he was jailed.

We are supposed to look unto Jesus the one who authors and finishes our salvation, who resisted to the point of death the pressure to go against the will of God (Hebrews 12:1-3), to make a different choice from the will of God.

Adam and Eve chose differently (Genesis 3). They did not pursue holiness, by let it slip on the platter of the devil’s deception, just as Esau let his birth-right go on the plate of food (Genesis 25:22-35). Adam was willing to abandon relationship with God, to keep relationship with his wife. Eve was willing to abandon her relationship with God because of what she wanted to eat. Hence Jesus said that if we would not hate our father mother, even our own lives, we are not worthy of him (Luke 14:26), of following him.

Joseph could have chosen to take the path of pleasing his master’s wife, be led along by her lust, rather than the will of God, but he had the will of God fixed in his heart, telling her: I cannot do this evil thing and sin against God.

At the risk of his life as a low class foreign slave, he resisted sin. He risked everything, including his position as chief slave, but he refused to risk his relationship with God. As far as he was concerned what God wanted was more important than what she wanted. He refused to yield to her because of her position. He was willing to sacrifice peace with her to gain holiness when it comes to God.

He did not mind displeasing everyone, as long as he pleases God, did not mind what he loses as long as he does not lose his relationship with God. David prayed after he had sinned in adultery and murder: take not your Holy Spirit from me (Psalm 51:11). He’ll rather lose everything than lose the presence of God, hence that prayer.

But Adam not willing to lose his relationship with his wife, sacrificed his relationship with God on that altar, but lost everything eventually, cutting himself off from the abundance and presence of God. What he and his wife sought to gain, they lost.

Jesus said that if anyone wants to save his life, he will lose it. We must be willing to lose everything for the sake of Christ that is when we get them back (Mark 8:35). When Jesus lost his life, he got it back, in a greater life. When he died as a seed falling to the ground, many seeds came forth from the ground (John 12:24).

Eve sought wisdom when she grabbed hold of the forbidden fruit, tearing it off the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, but what she tore off instead was her peace with God. She sought for wisdom but she plucked foolishness.

She thought she would to pluck liberation but she plucked repression as the history of women in the world had shown, but in Jesus there is restoration because in him there is neither male nor female but we are all one in Christ.

God told Abraham, walk before me and be perfect (Genesis 17:1). That means he was to be in pursuit of pleasing God. And he was also a man who pursued peace with man. When there was conflict between him and his nephew’s (Lot) herdsmen (Genesis 13:1-10), he chose the path of peace. He decided that it is better for Lot to live far away from him than for him to experience conflict with him. He chose peace rather than claim his right.

While the bible says that as long as it lies with us we should live in peace with all men (Romans 12:18), it is clear that some people cannot be reconciled with, they ask for terms of reconciliation that are tantamount to cutting off your head for them.

David wrote that some people hated him for no reason (Psalm 35:19). There are unreasonable haters, there is nothing you can do that will make them change their minds, until they see your end on the face of the earth. They hate you that much. The earlier you learn this the better for your peace of mind.

What kind of reconciliation would Jesus have with the Pharisees, his every words only served to infuriate them because their frames of reference are diametrically opposite? And if he does not say those words he will displease God. And as Paul said: if I pleased men, I will not be a servant of God (Galatians 1:10).

Jesus sought the approval of God while the Pharisees sought the approval of men. He was heavenly, while they are earthly (John 3:10-12). They judge by observation, but he judges spiritually (John 5:30, 7:24). They cannot come to the same conclusion, they are straight lines that cannot meet.

That was also the difference between King Saul and King David. King Saul sought to please men, while King David sought to please God. God declared of him that he is a man after my heart who will do all my will (Acts 13:22).

David also sought for peace. Rather than be in conflict with King Saul, he ran from him. He chose to be in the wilderness in passive resistance to the persecution of King Saul against him, than set up a rival army to take him on.

He’ll rather wait for the will of God to happen than force it to happen. He would take the path of peace even if it will cost him staying in the wilderness, away from his home, for many years. Desire for peace dictated his action.

Jesus was a man of peace. He came as the peacemaker between man and God (2Corinthians 5:19). He was the personification of love (John 3:16).

Looking at the fruits of the Spirit they can all be classified under relationship with God and with man (Galatians 5:22-23). Love, joy and peace, faith, are about relationship with God. The bible says that the kingdom of God is about righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.

When it comes to relationship with men, we should have kindness, goodness, longsuffering, self-control, and gentleness. The bible says against such there is no law. We cannot do wrong if we are in pursuit of peace and holiness which are captured in one word: love, for man and God respectively. Paul called it the higher way, saying if I have everything and I have no love I have nothing (1Corinthians 13).

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One thought on “In pursuit of peace and holiness

  1. Very True Kayode, we are to aim to be perfected in Love, pleasing God not man as you rightly said, putting Him first in all things and considering others before ourselves being willing to be their servant, this is the essence of True Love, God’s Love, which we ask for and receive and when perfected in Love, we don’t fear the torment of Hell, Jesus has set us free of the slavery of sin, no Temptation will be greater than we can bear and having God’s seed or Nature, we walk in righteousness.

    1John 4:16-19 And we have known and believed the Love that God hath to us. God is Love; and he that dwelleth in Love dwelleth in God, and God in him. Herein is our Love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as He is, so are we in this world. There is no fear in Love; but perfect Love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in Love. We Love Him, because He first Loved us.

    Yes also True Kayode, we are not to seek after worldly wisdom as Eve was deceived into doing and so disobeying God and encouraging Adam to do the same, which shows it was of the flesh not The Spirit but we are to ask for God’s wisdom, we were not born with it, we than believe we have received it and don’t doubt that He keeps His promises. Jesus tells us to seek, ask and knock.

    Proverbs 4:7 Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding.

    James 1:5-7 If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord. A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.

    Colossians 2:2-3 That their hearts might be comforted, being knit together in Love, and unto all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the acknowledgement of the mystery of God, and of the Father, and of Christ; In whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.

    Christian Love in our Unity in Christ Jesus – Anne

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