Key verse:
If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. – Romans 12:18-19 NKJV

Peace starts on the inside

Paul says that we should live peaceably with all men.  You will notice that the apostle does not say that we should live peaceably with a “few” men or “some” men, but he says that we should live peaceably with ALL.  This scripture is similar to Hebrews 12:14 in that the writer of Hebrews writes, “pursue peace with all people”.  As you can see, the concept of peace is of great importance to Christian doctrine.  Many of us all share one great wish of living in peace, but are we doing our part to create that peace?

How should we go about creating peace, where do we begin?  We read this scripture (Romans 12:18), and we see that we should live peaceably with others, and so we take that to mean we should start with those around us.  Creating peace with others sounds absolutely like the right thing to do, but is it truly the right starting place?  I would say that is absolutely not the right starting place for creating peace with others.

Some will disagree but here is my argument for why that is the wrong place to begin.  For thousands of years, practically since the beginning of mankind, man has tried to dictate to others what peace really is.  The problem with that is that not everybody’s idea of peace is quite the same.  For example, I am at peace when I am working outside in the yard cutting the grass and using my trimmer.  For me, I am at peace, but for others, my cutting of the grass is simply a noisy nuisance that I shouldn’t wake others up with in the morning.  Let’s try another example if you don’t mind.  For some, going outside and listening to their car radio as loud as possible can be very peaceful.  However, for others, the loud music is just a loud and unnecessary noise.

Here’s the big problem: for too long people have been trying to dictate their idea of peace without considering others.  There’s nothing wrong with establishing peace with others, however, mankind has often gone about establishing peace the wrong way.  Peace has been dictated based off of how we judge one another and many times those judgments are completely wrong.  People have essentially been saying, “this is how you can live in peace with me” instead of asking, “what can I do better to live in peace with you?”

I think of my community, the black community, and how many of us wish to simply live in peace.  Yet, it seems that it’s impossible to have such peace without being harassed for simply being black.  Not to drift over into another topic, but the problem with trying to start off by establishing peace with somebody else first is that in most cases it suggests that the problem with not having peace begins with them.  This is a conflict that affects many believers today solely because they’re trying to establish peace but they have no idea on how to go about establishing that peace.

Where should we begin in order to establish peace with others?  Look no further than the reflection in the mirror.  I declare to you today that peace must begin within us!  I want you to pay close attention to what Paul said in Romans 12:18 – notice every single word.

If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men.

Romans 12:18 NKJV

Notice that Paul says, “as much as depends on you“.  I want you to notice that Paul doesn’t write that it depends on somebody else, but that it depends on you.  It is not up to the nonbeliever to live peaceably with you!  It is up to the believer to live peaceably with all manner of people!  We must understand this statement and let it settle into the pit of our stomach.  Do you have peace within yourself?  I tell you, you’re not going to be able to live peaceably with others if you don’t have peace within yourself!

One of the biggest problems that we face is that there are too many people trying to lead in the fight for peace but they have all kind of turmoil built up inside of them.  People who have not let go of their old hatreds are trying to lead in a fight for peace – not going to work.  People who try to hide their hatred of others are trying to lead in a fight for peace – not going to work.  People full of wrath and anger are trying to lead in a fight for peace – not going to work.  What is on the inside, no matter how far down you try to bury it, is what eventually comes out!

Becoming peaceful

To know real peace, we must know Christ.  Not only must we know Christ but we must accept (believe) in Christ.  Christ should, therefore, be reflected from us!  Unfortunately, Christ is not being reflected from many who claim to be a believer in Him.  You can go to church as much as you want but if Christ does not truly dwell in you, then you cannot expect for Christ to come out of you!  We see this happening a lot in our society.  There are many bigots moving about and they are doing so in the name of Christ saying that they are trying to establish peace.  No real peace is going to ever be established by those who move out of fear and do not move in genuine faith.

Paul says (Romans 12:19), we should give place to wrath (inner turmoil) which means we should let our wrath go.  We should give place to all that boils us on the inside.  Who do we give this inner turmoil, this wrath, over too?  I want you to notice that God says to turn our inner turmoil over to Him!

Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord.

Romans 12:19 NKJV

Where one would say to another, “I can’t have you with all of that baggage”, when entering into a relationship, God says, “give Me all of your baggage!”  When we come into a relationship with God, He wants our joy to be filled; He does not want us filled with turmoil on the inside.  God says to us, “give Me your wrath, your anger, your sadness, your depression, your frustration, and you just be faithful” – we are to simply be faithful, peaceful creatures.  We can only find peace with God, yet, many of us find it hard to let go of those things that we believe “drives” us.

Being driven by hatred is not a good thing.  Being driven by anger is not a good thing.  Being driven by your wrath is not a good thing.  Understand that you will not find anywhere in scripture where the Lord tells us to be driven by our wrath; not only that but you will find nowhere in scripture where God tells us that peace will be found by being driven by such turmoil!  Yet, here we are today, still trying to establish peace in the world by being driven by such turmoil.

We cannot lose our inner peace that God has offered and given to us by trying to combat our enemy using tools of wrath.  Sadly, many of those who call themselves believers are losing whatever peace they could have had by being driven by their wrath.  Our enemy, the devil, rejoices when those who claim to be followers of Christ, lower themselves down to his level.  I declare to you, today, that you cannot do good things through evil actions.

Isaiah wrote:

Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; Who put darkness for light, and light for darkness; Who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!

Isaiah 5:20 NKJV

We cannot become the peaceful creatures we were meant to be through the ways of wickedness and evil.  Truly, I declare to you, if we are to ever live in peace, we must turn our wrath over to the Lord and trust that He will handle our wrath.  God is a just and a righteous God.  Yes, we should certainly want to have peace with others and work to have it, but peace must first begin inside of us.  To do so, we must find God and then we must attain God.

Notice that I said we must attain God.  Many people are going to church on Sundays and have yet to attain God’s doctrine.  Many people are opening and reading their bibles, but they have yet to attain the Lord.  You see, it is possible for us to find something but not be able to grasp and hold on to that something.  Some have found God, they have found peace, but they haven’t been able to attain what they have found because they have not let go of their inner turmoil.  Let go of your inner turmoil, turn it over to the Lord, and then you will have found peace of mind – there is nothing wrong with finding peace of mind.


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