“Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, “What lies behind us and what lies before us are small matters compared to what lies within us.” This begs the question, “What lies within you and me? What lies at the core of every human being?"
According to Holy Scripture, it is God. As the book of Genesis tells us, we are all created in the image and likeness of God. Now, I’m sure that you’ve heard this before, but I think it’s crucial for us to remember what this means. In biblical times, kings would strategically place their image all over their land. For example, kings would put up statues of themselves and stamp their image on coins. This was the king’s way of reminding the people who was in control.
In the same way, each of us bears the image or imprint of our King and God. The King of Heaven has chosen you before you were even born. Remember that you and I are created in God’s image and, therefore, we are citizens of heaven who are invited to live by the values of God’s kingdom.
This is what God’s peace, or shalom in Hebrew, is all about. The peace of Christ is part of the Kingdom. It’s what the Kingdom of God looks like. It’s what citizenship in the Kingdom of God requires and what the Kingdom promises to those who choose God and God’s way of peace. However, if we are citizens of heaven—if we live on Earth with the values of heaven—then at times we’ll feel like aliens, because this world—at least in its present form—is not our home. That’s what happens when we let the peace of Christ direct our hearts.
Therefore, our behavior might seem a bit strange at times. In a world that says, “You scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours,” citizens of God’s Kingdom go out of their way to serve people who cannot pay them back. In a world that stands up for its rights, citizens of the Kingdom stand up for their responsibilities and for the rights of other people.
In a world that teaches nothing in life is free, citizens of the Kingdom smile because they know that everything is free— that everything is a gift from God; that life is grace and, because of that, they are generous with their lives.
Today, with God’s grace, may we embrace this good news; may we remember who we are: citizens of heaven created in God’s image; may we be empowered by the Holy Spirit to live out the values of God’s Kingdom; and may we allow the peace of Christ to rule in our hearts today and always.