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).
- 1 Samuel for Me (And you!) (worthabowedhead.wordpress.com)
- Believe God for the ‘immeasurably more’ (examiner.com)
- Monday (August 25): “One who swears by the altar swears by it and all that is upon it.” (shechina.wordpress.com)
- Open Heavens Devotional Thursday – 28/08/2014 Lessons From Rebekah by Pastor E.a. Adeboye (princeadetokunboolaoye.wordpress.com)
- Don’t let your Valley become your Grave (joshuamcelhaney.wordpress.com)
- Peace (escottspencer.wordpress.com)
- The Parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector (loosehim.wordpress.com)