“Let the Peace of Christ reign…” Brad Jersak
“Let the peace of Christ reign in your hearts” – Colossians 3:15
This morning I’m feeling peaceful, despite the usual congenital temptation to pick up lurking worries. I’ve had some outside help… I’ve been enjoying a coffee on my deck, sitting with my baby grandson (who’s singing to me sweetly), and feeding peanuts to some adolescent Steller’s Jay visitors. I’ve also been editing an article titled “The Peace of Thanksgiving” by my friend and colleague Ed Dunn, well in advance of our November issue of Plain Truth magazine.
Ed is reflecting on the apostle Paul’s counsel to the Colossians, “Let the peace of Christ reign in your hearts.” Something about how Ed wrote the piece (you’ll love it!) felt like he opened up a new pathway to understanding how I might LET the peace of Christ rule in my heart.
Previously, I have struggled with how Paul’s advice could feel like pretending I’m peaceful when I’m not, or trying to self-impose some external peace in a way that felt more like denial or repression. But Ed helped me see the real key is understanding first that Christ lives in me and he’s the Prince of Peace.
As Felix sang and the Jays fed, I imagined my heart as regions within me, including those where I actively allow for Christ’s reign (since he reigns by consent, not coercion). And I saw other regions (sadly, vast areas) where I’ve resisted that reign, great internal environments with really unfortunate, anxiety-ridden emotional ‘weather.’
The upside of this vision is that “letting the peace of Christ reign” is the same as saying “consenting to the reign of Christ, whose peace comes with his reign.” Then, whenever I can identify an arena of my heart that is still filled with angst, I can welcome the already-indwelling Christ to do his transforming work there. He’s not invading from the inside out—he’s already alive and at work in me, from the inside out. “Letting him reign” is just a political metaphor for surrendering to his wise and loving care.
But what does that actually look like, practically? How is it practiced? I think it’s likely allowing Christ to speak the peace-imparting truth wherever I’m prone to believe lies (masked as worries) and, when Christ speaks the good-news truth, trusting that he is utterly incapable of lying to me.
I imagine looking him in the eye and hearing him say quite soberly, “I’m the Son of God and Prince of Peace, and I promise you, I’m not rattled or worried. At all. I’m asking you to trust me.” Or maybe that’s not just my imagination. After all, it’s true, isn’t it?
And I imagine allowing him to bear burdens I’m packing around (including other people and their problems). And I let him take those burdens and exchange them with his gifts (as in Isaiah 61:3).
- “…to comfort all who mourn,
- and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
- to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes,
- the oil of joy instead of mourning,
- and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.”
I suppose I should do more than reflect on these revelations. Time to put them into practice so that my peace also becomes an “inside job.” I can think of a few heart-regions that need the reign of the Prince of Peace. Can you? Shall we “let the peace of Christ reign in our hearts”?