I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you. -Psalm 119:11
By Brittany Jean-Louis (WITHIN Devotional Contributor)
“Let him seek peace and pursue it “
1 Peter 3:11
I love how the Bible commands us in many scriptures to seek or to find something. “in all they getting, get understanding” or “seek ye first the kingdom of God, and all these things shall be added” are just a few examples of how we are commanded to seek and pursue. I remember as a kid playing hide and seek. Someone counted, everyone dispersed. The game was: once someone counted, they came to find you and if you are found, game over. As a kid, I would always volunteer to be the finder because I’d think in advance of clever places people could hide. Once I started to count the excitement started; you know that excitement that gets your heart pumping. The rush of adrenaline that shot through my body as I ran to find my cousins and friends. I go rushing in the house looking in cabinets, under beds in closets. Meanwhile being told firmly to “stop running in my house” by my resting aunt. Then seeking slows down but a brisk power walk ensues. I’d look in the attic the basement and go outside to look under the porch, behind the bushes in back yards. I’d start to find people slowly but surely. There were moments in my pursuit where I felt I’ve looked everywhere and a feeling of defeat came over me. So, I went back to the places I looked before and found people. I’d stop to think about potential hiding spots and then find more people. I kept doing it until everyone was found. The feeling of fulfillment that came over me was priceless.
What happens if we pursued peace like this? What if we ran with excitement to find it? What if we moved so expeditiously toward the mark that others may say: slow down? What if we searched all around, going back to places we went before to search and find? What if we took a break to gather our thoughts to figure out where it could be? What if we bolted toward it with eagerness? I believe this is how the Lord wants us to pursue Him and everything that He is inclusive of peace.
The Hebrew meaning for peace is “to be complete or whole”. Therefore, when we pursue peace we are pursuing wholeness. God wants us to live our lives well. He wants us to be fulfilled, successful and prosperous in all that we are in Him and all that we do, in Him. That means we have complete relationship with Him. Complete relationship with ourselves. Complete relationship with others.
When we purse peace, we are running after God. He is the source of our peace (Judges 6:24). 1 Peter 3:10 tells us that part of pursuing peace translates to loving life and seeing good days. Verse 12 implies that we are righteous (living uprightly for God) when we do good and pursue peace. And if we are righteous (through Christ) then the Lord’s eyes are on us and His ears are open to our prayers! Setting our pursuit on Him makes us righteous and He has never forsaken the righteous. When peace is pursued, we are united with God through Christ’s resurrection, presented to Him free of condemnation. We learn to fully understand the peace of God through the reconciliation of the cross and Jesus dying for our sins. Thus, when we do sin, we receive the peace of God in our hearts knowing that He is a forgiver of sins. We are constantly being washed and renewed when we ask for forgiveness and this conviction can only be lived out through a life pursuant of peace.
The scripture tells us that to have a complete relationship with ourselves and others means to be loving. Pursuing peace allows us to be fulfilled in the relationship with ourselves and the people around us, not only the people we love but all people the Lord allows in our path. Verses 8-12 tells us to be loving, compassionate, sympathetic and humble. Cultivate good, ensure that we are not being hurtful nor sarcastic. Part of starting the process to make our souls whole is talking to ourselves like we talk to our best friends; our souls respond to the words we use, we have to be mindful of speaking life.
Sometimes we are not all that kind to ourselves; we talk down to ourselves or beat ourselves up when we fall short. Sometimes it’s not always about the big things we beat ourselves up about but the accumulation of small things that over time break our spirit. We must be kind to ourselves and others. Pursuing peace gives us the internal instruction to love ourselves and love others. The word says in 1 Corinthians 13 what love is- that it’s not puffed up, it’s patient, kind and not envious. The ministry of Jesus demonstrated this type of love. He gave of Himself for the purpose of the kingdom yet He took care of Himself and made time for loving Himself through the restoration of prayer and being alone at times. Speaking and acting in love, always.
“God we thank you for loving us. We thank you for giving us grace when we don’t always get it right. We thank you that peace is our portion and we will pull from this portion to know you better, know ourselves better and no others better. Let your love and peace rest and rule in our hearts always. We receive your peace today and all that it will bring to our spirit, soul and body. We thank you that your peace that surpasses all understanding will guard our hearts and minds. We commit to pursuing peace for the rest of our lives. In Jesus name, amen.”
The weekly devotionals seek to encourage you to dig deeper into Scripture as you take the time to daily read, meditate, and internalize the verses in the devotional, along with the passages provided below to give greater context. Take the time to read them throughout the week (repetition is important) and ask the Holy Spirit to help you grasp what God is showing you about Himself, about you, and how to live in light of these truths.
Passages to read/memorize/meditate:
1 Peter 3:11-22
Questions to Reflect on:
1. What have I been doing to pursue peace in my life?
2. How am I pursuing peace daily?
3. What specific things can I do daily to pursue peace?
4. How can I be more fulfilled in my relationship with Christ?
5. How can I be more fulfilled in my relationship with myself?
6. How can I be more fulfilled in my relationship with others?