Let the peace of God rule in your hearts – Col 3:15
In Colossians 3:15, the Holy Spirit, through the apostle Paul, instructs us to let God’s peace ‘rule’ in our hearts.
In regards to this passage, it is important to remember that the New Testament was originally written in the Greek language. Scholars have worked hard to translate it accurately into English for us. Most of the time they are able to bring the complete meaning over into English, but sometimes the true meaning of a word can be lost in translation. And that’s ok, because we have the tools available to us to look at the original language and to look at the meaning of the original words.
In this case, the word ‘rule’ is translated from the Greek word ‘brabeuō,’ which, believe or not, is the Greek word for ‘umpire.’ Yes, umpire – as in baseball.
This is the only time in the entire bible that this word is used. And I guess I could understand why – why would biblical writers care about Greek sports?
In ancient times (like today) there would be an official at sporting events. We call them referees, umpires, officials, etc. They all have basically the same job: they are in charge of the game. They make important calls in effort to keep the game fair. They make decisions regarding conflicting reports from players and coaches. We’ve all been at games, or a part of a game, where one team is hollering that this happened, while the other is hollering the opposite. There is one person that everyone looks at for the call on what to do: the umpire.
Life is similar to this. We all come to places in our lives where decisions need to be made, important decisions. Fortunately God has given us an ‘umpire’ to make those calls for us. Our umpire is called ‘the peace of God.’
For ye shall go out with joy, and be led forth with peace – Isaiah 55:12
One of the greatest aspects of our covenant with God is that He has sent His Holy Spirit, not only to be with us, but to live IN us. The Third Person of the godhead lives within us! What an awesome privilege!
And the Holy Spirit doesn’t just take up space, He desires to be actively at work in our lives. In fact, Jesus gives us clear teaching on what the Holy Spirit has come to do in our lives:
If you love Me, keep My commandments. And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever…
…the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you…
…when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come – Jesus (John 14)
Jesus gives us a list of some AMAZING things that the Holy Spirit has come to do for us (and it doesn’t stop there). However, I only want to point out one of the aspects of the Holy Spirits ministry here, and that is His ministry of guidance.
He (the Holy Spirit) will GUIDE YOU into all truth -Jesus (John 14:13)
This is what I want to focus on here – that the Holy Spirit is a guide – and in more ways than one.
In John 14:13 Jesus says that the Holy Spirit will guide us into TRUTH. That means that He will guide us into understanding the Word of God correctly. But, while He is there, He also will guide us in other matters of life, matters that he Word of God doesn’t specifically address, but are, nonetheless, important.
These kind of matters could include (but are not limited to): who to date/marry, what job to take, what school to go to, where to minister the gospel, how to deal with difficult situations, how to help someone in a difficult situation, business deals, how to deal with your children, and the list goes on.
Now, in case you were wondering, this is where the umpire comes in. One of the primary ways that God’s Spirit leads is by the peace of God in our hearts. We need to allow the peace of God to be the umpire in our lives. That is, we must led by the peace that we sense in our spirits.
As Christians, we have all experienced this. We have had times when we were about to do this or that and we have experienced an uneasiness in our spirit. This is the peace of God acting as an umpire. It is the Holy Spirit putting up a warning sign saying, “something is wrong here!”
This is how God leads us. When we have peace about something, we should do it, when we don’t have peace about something, we should not do it. When we do something without the peace of God in our hearts, we are doing it outside of faith, and this is sin (Romans 14:23). And we know that sin is the pathway to death and destruction in our lives.
Now don’t let this paralyze you. Don’t wait around wondering if you have peace about something or not. Just move in the direction you think is good and God will stop you if you’re headed the wrong way. Just make sure you are staying in tune with Him.
A great example of this is with the apostle Paul. Paul was a mover and a shaker. He did not like to sit still. Jesus said to ‘go into all the world,’ and go is what Paul did. Sometimes God had to reel him in a little, but that’s no problem. Look at what happens here in Acts 16:
Now when they had gone through Phrygia and the region of Galatia, they were forbidden by the Holy Spirit to preach the word in Asia. After they had come to Mysia, they tried to go into Bithynia, but the Spirit did not permit them. – Acts 16:6-7
This is a fascinating scripture. Noticed that Paul and his travel companions tired to go into Galatia, but the Holy Spirit ‘forbid’ them. Then they tried to go into Bithynia, ‘but the Spirit didn’t let them.’
Here we can see that they were being guided by the Holy Spirit. The next verse tell us that Macadonia is where God wanted Paul to go.
But how did the Holy Spirit speak to them? Well, the scripture doesn’t specifically tell us, but we can surmise that He spoke to Paul exactly the same way Paul teaches us in Colossians 3:15 – by the peace of God.
I can imagine that as Paul and his friends entered near the first town that one of them said out loud, “Guys, I’m not feeling good about this for some reason.” Then there was probably another who said, “yeah, I’ve been sensing the same thing. It doesn’t seem right.” Then Paul might have said, “You’re right, I don’t feel peace about this either, let’s move on.”
It didn’t ‘seem right’ to them, so they moved on. God eventually directed them to where He wanted them to be.
But is that really how the Holy Spirit leads us? Is it just a sense down in our spirit that something seems right or wrong? Yes! That is exactly how the Holy Spirit leads us, and I can prove it to you.
Luke, the physician, who accompanied the apostle Paul on his journal, wrote some really important letters. He wrote the gospel of Luke and the book of Acts. Both of these writings we, as Christians, consider sacred, inspired scripture – the Word of God.
But how did Luke come to write this letters? Did an angel appear to him and tell him? Did God speak to him in an audible voice? Did he have a dream or a vision? None of those. Look what he says:
it seemed good to me also, having had perfect understanding of all things from the very first, to write to you an orderly account, most excellent Theophilus… – Luke 1:3
Why did he write the book of Luke? Because it SEEMED GOOD. In other words, he had a peace down in his heart about doing it. It seemed like the right thing to do. When you are close to the Lord, you simply need to do what’s in your heart. If it’s wrong, the Lord will let you know.
Let’s look at another example. In Acts 15, the apostles were making some serious decisions about whether or not the Gentiles who had received the Word of God should be circumcised and keep the law. Look how they land on their final decision, and what they write in their letter to the Gentiles:
…it SEEMED GOOD to the Holy Spirit, and to us, to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things… – Acts 15:28
In other words, they, as Christian believers who are in fellowship with God through the Holy Spirit, were able to sense what the Holy Spirit wanted them to say without the Holy Spirit actually saying anything. It was an inner witness, a sense in their spirit, kind of like the inner witness of the Spirit when you first are saved, as Paul talks about in Romans 8:
The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God. -Romans 8:16
They felt at peace in their spirit with this decision. The peace of God was being their umpire. Do you see that?
If you’ve been a Christian for very long, this has happened to you. Maybe some preacher said something that just didn’t seem right. It’s quite possible that the Spirit of God is telling you that it isn’t right. That would be a great time to go to the scriptures for yourself and let the Spirit guide you into all truth.
This has happened numerous times in my own life. I remember praying about a girl that I liked when I was in college. She liked me and I liked her. She was very pretty. I really wanted the Lord to tell me that this was the right one for me, but I never felt peace about the relationship. I’m actually quite certain that the Lord was leading me away from this relationship. But being the stubborn kid that I was, I continued to pursue the relationship. Fortunately for me, she broke up with me a short time later! I say fortunately because looking back now I can tell you that I’m SUPER glad she wasn’t the girl I married. It would be quite weird considering that she isn’t even interested in men any longer!
However, with Katrina (my wife), I remember specifically the very moment when the peace of God flooded my soul when I prayed about our relationship. It was a relationship that was not likely to happen since we had only met at a wedding and because she lived 1000 miles away. But because of that peace, I pursued the relationship. I moved 1000 miles to Florida based on that peace in my soul (I felt it the whole time), and now, eleven years and four kids later, we are still doing great!
So let God’s peace be your umpire. The Holy Spirit will guide you. If you follow His lead, He will lead you into green pastures and besides still waters. He will lead you away from turmoil and trouble, goodness and mercy will follow you all the days of your life. Following His lead could quite literally save your life, and most definitely save your soul.