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Peaceably

Romans 12:18 If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.

All types are allowed on the playground. If you are going to be there, you have to learn to get along. Paul’s encouragement here starts out with “if it be possible”.

Isaiah 42:14a (KJ21) “I have long time held My peace; I have been still and refrained Myself.”

I am quoting only the first part of Isaiah 42:14 because as a babe in Christ you are not ready for the second part of the verse. Our beginning in Christ has everything to do with holding our peace. It was not our old nature to do so, but becoming new, it is the way of peace that will lead us in the right way to walk with Christ. We cannot control how others act but we are to offer up the opportunity for peace on our part.

Our first selfless act in becoming a babe in Christ should be to act peaceably on this playground. While peace is listed third in the fruits of the spirit, it is quickly followed by the fourth, longsuffering. If the fruits of the spirit are manifested in order as some preach, then peace should be shown before we learn to endure suffering. These are not easy lessons but if kept in order, life in Christ will progress as planned.

Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.

There are perhaps no sadder words than to hear a new Christian say, “I read the ending. I know how this turns out.” Nearly everyone I have heard say that fails to read their bibles properly to extract God’s plan and to discover the journey is so important.

Running

Galatians 5:7 Ye did run well; who did hinder you that ye should not obey the truth?

As a young child I loved to run. I ran everywhere with joy and without effort. I also ran without purpose, the act of running was enough to make me feel great. I had no consideration for anyone else and I needed no one else to enjoy running.

Running in the spirit without purpose is a waste of energy. It is a waste of time and helps no one, not even Christ. I have to admit here that my youth in Christ was spent alone. It took me some time to recognize I needed to be in fellowship.

I had already separated myself from those old friends who only wanted to drag me back into bad habits. It was like someone in AA no longer going to bars. It just wasn’t a good idea. I had not yet sought new friends, nor did I understand the need for fellowship.

Even after I began attending a church, I didn’t feel like I fit in with their fellowship. I was the new kid in school, a stranger among lifelong friends. It felt much like my childhood school days. Here to learn but not secure in any relationship.

The church I attended was one of the charismatics. I didn’t know what that meant. For all I knew this was the only way to worship. I had not developed any spiritual discernment and all the judgments I made there were in the flesh. My previous bad experiences led me to see things in ways that never worked well for me outside of church. They led me nowhere in the church.

I found myself running without purpose within the confines of a new field, still aimless and still alone. This was my selfish education phase. I was there for me, not for them.