Agonizing for peace … like a gladiator
Paul’s letter to the Ephesians focuses heavily on peacemaking. The first three chapters provide a glorious description of God’s plan of salvation. In the fourth chapter, Paul begins to explain how we should respond to what Christ has done for us. Note carefully what Paul places at the top of his list of practical applications of the gospel: “As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace” (Eph. 4:1-3). The Greek word that is translated “make every effort” in this passage means to strive eagerly, earnestly, and diligently. It is a word that a trainer of gladiators might have used when he sent men to fight to the death in the Coliseum: “Make every effort to stay alive today!” So too must a Christian agonize for peace and unity. Obviously, token efforts and halfhearted attempts at reconciliation fall far short of what Paul had in mind.
Taken from The Peacemaker: A Biblical Guide to Resolving Personal Conflict
by Ken Sande, Updated Edition (Grand Rapids, Baker Books, 2003) p. 66
Food for Thought
Are you struck by the call to agonize for peace and unity–like a gladiator? Do you know who agonizes for peace and unity like a gladiator? Christ Jesus! Before you get down on yourself by thinking, “Wow, I should really be agonizing more about my peacemaking…”, hear the good news: Christ himself is a “peacemaking gladiator.” When you “fight” for reconciliation, even in a seemingly lost cause, you’re fighting back to back with the greatest warrior who ever lived–the Lord himself. The battle may turn out differently than you expect or prefer, but take comfort in this:
“The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise” (Ps. 51:17).
Fight the good fight of reconciliation with the Lord, not you, in the lead. Follow his lead, leaving the results in his hands, and you will see that, far from despising your efforts, the Lord will accept them as a sacrifice–and he will honor them, in his own way, in his own time.
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