The Shoes of Peace
There are a lot of divisive elements in this world, so Paul cautions us to watch out for them. Divisive people are not serving our Lord Jesus Christ. “By smooth talk and flattery they deceive the minds of naïve people” (Romans 16:18). Paul wrote in Titus 3:10-11, “Warn a divisive person once, and then warn them a second time. After that, have nothing to do with them. You may be sure that such people are warped and sinful; they are self-condemned.” Divisive people stand in stark contrast to true believers. Jesus tells us, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God” (Matthew 5:9).
In John 17:21, Jesus prays that we would all be one. In Ephesians 4:3, Paul admonishes us to “make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace” (Ephesians 4:3). If we are going to keep the unity of the Spirit, then it must somehow be present with us already. Therefore, the basis for unity is not our common physical heritage, nor is it our religious traditions. The basis for our unity is our common spiritual heritage. Every believer is a child of God. We are brothers and sisters in Christ, and we ought to relate to one another as such.
When we receive Christ, we are united with the Prince of Peace. We already have positional peace with God (see Romans 5:1), but the peace of Christ must rule in our hearts. That happens when we let the Word of Christ richly dwell within us (see Colossians 3:15-16). The shoes of peace, as armor of God, become our protection against the divisive schemes of the devil when we act as peacemakers among believers.
A tree that is split in half soon dies, but a tree that is pruned bears more fruit. Jesus prunes, but the devil divides – and it takes little effort to divide a fellowship. All you have to do is start a whisper campaign, spread a few lies and accuse someone falsely. The book of Proverbs has a lot to say about malicious speech and gossip: “A gossip betrays a confidence, but a trustworthy person keeps a secret” (11:13); “A perverse person stirs up dissension, and a gossip separates close friends” (16:28); “Without wood a fire goes out; without gossip a quarrel dies down” (26:20).
Satan will try to divide a person’s mind, because a double-minded person is unstable in all his or her ways (see James 1:8). He will try to divide a home, because a house divided against itself cannot stand (see Mark 3:25). He will try to divide the Body of Christ, because united we stand but divided we fall. Unless we are alert, we will be like blindfolded warriors who don’t know who our enemy is. We will strike out at ourselves and at each other.
Such is the divisive work of Satan and his false prophets. However, we have the promise that “the God of peace will soon crush Satan under [our] feet” (Romans 16:20). If we want to be peacemakers, we should “not let any unwholesome talk come out of [our] mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. And [we should] not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom [we] were sealed for the day of redemption” (Ephesians 4:29-30).
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