Romans 14:19—So then, we must pursue what promotes peace and what builds up one another.
One of the greatest hindrances to the deepening of relationships is our propensity to want to change those around us. While our motives may seem pure, in fact if we are not careful there is an ever subtle danger that our distilled rationale for fixing others is in fact for our own betterment. Much of the time what we want from others or even for ourselves is not necessarily what God wants.
Let’s suppose I aim to invite someone over for dinner for the purpose of fellowship. I call my wife and inform her of my intentions and she responds that the date is not a good time for her. She projects a busy day and does not feel she could prepare adequately. Immediately I am agitated. I question her priorities and remind her that we are to put others before ourselves (missing that I just put myself before her). I remind her that my schedule is much busier and this is the only convenient date I can meet with the person. She now feels guilty and acquiesces to my will. Do you see the problem?
If my motive is to promote peace and build up others that motive cannot exclude the people closest to me. The moment my wife objects to the plan and date I proposed I should remember that my responsibility is to build herup. Pursuing peace means I thank her and work to reschedule. If I am still agitated it means I probably have unresolved issues I need to settle with her. Rarely are we put off or irritated with a person for a single reason. Now it is time to go to the Lord in prayer and ask Him to reveal what is causing my irritation. Trying to fix another person is fraught with hypocrisy. In truth, I have many things that need fixing—selfishness, impatience, insecurities, hidden agendas, etc.
One reason our effort to correct others so often ends badly is because they see through our exhortation a pattern or act of manipulation that is to our advantage. This in turn can cause them to take their focus off of pleasing God. When my intent is to honor God, I am able to pursue peace. I begin to see people as He sees them. I can relax. I can overlook what bothers me and instead look to encourage another. When my resolve is to build up another and I’m sure my motives are God-centered, then, if I need to bring correction in God’s timing, I can do so in a spirit of love. Pursuing peace is often a matter of getting me out of the way!
If we are truly God’s servants we know perfectly well that we get no peace or joy from what we have done by striving.—Watchman Nee in Changed into His Likeness
©2013 Daniel York ARR. Reveration is the weekly devotional ministry of First Cause. If you would like to receive these devotionals go to www.firstcause.org and click on the “Click here to receive weekly devotionals” box. Unlimited permission to copy this devotional without altering text or profiteering is allowed subject to inclusion of this copyright notice.
Ecclesiastes 12:10-The Teacher sought to find delightful sayings and to accurately write words of truth. (Holman CSB)