Summary: The outside of my life should match my heart. I think this is one of the lessons that we Christians miss most of all in our efforts to be like Jesus. Many times we can talk a good game or know the right places to be, but our heart is truly what God look
LET IT HAPPEN IN YOUR HEART
The Apostle Paul tells us that when we put on the characteristics of Christ (mentioned in verses 12-14) that it should demonstrate itself in several ways. Paul says that these characteristics of Christ should not be just on the inside but should be shown to others as well. The outside of my life should match my heart. I think this is one of the lessons that we Christians miss most of all in our efforts to be like Jesus. Many times we can talk a good game or know the right places to be, but our heart is truly what God looks at.
I think of the passage in 1 Samuel 16 (verse 7) where the prophet Samuel is looking for the next King of Israel. Chapter 15 of 1 Samuel describes how God rejected Saul as King and sends Samuel to search for the new king. God sends Samuel to the house of Jesse in Bethlehem. All of Jesse’s mighty sons came by one by one, but they were not the man for God. Verse 7 says, “But the Lord said to Samuel, ’Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart’.” Later that day, David, the youngest son of Jesse, was anointed to be the next king. Why? Because God is interested in our hearts.
The Apostle Paul knows this as well. He gives us several marks for us to see when we let God have our hearts.
I. OUR HEART SHOULD BE RULED BY PEACE (VERSE 15)
What is peace? I do not want to bore you with ten minutes of a Greek lesson, but when the Apostle Paul says the word ’peace’ in this verse, he means something very specific. Most of the time we see this word peace and we define it as tranquil or an absence of worry. That is a great definition of peace, and one that is used in Scripture, but it is not the emphasis Paul is making here. Paul is saying that the peace that comes from Christ comes from favorable circumstances. It is the same kind of peace used the second time in the verse. Your heart is peaceful because you are peaceful with those around you and you are not doing things that cause trouble.
A person who is a Christian is not out and about looking for opportunities to sin and create problems in their lives. Christians do not chase after the things of the world. Those things of the world only create an absence of peace in our lives... one of the ways is by upsetting the circumstances around us.
ILLUSTRATION... Tattoo the Basset
A Tahoma, Washington newspaper carried the story of Tattoo the basset hound. Tattoo didn’t intend to go for a run, but when his owner shut the dog’s leash in the car door and took off with Tattoo still outside the vehicle-he had no choice. Motorcycle officer Terry Filbert noticed a passing vehicle with something dragging behind it. He commented that the poor basset hound was “picking them up and putting them down as fast as he could.” He was rescued, but not before reaching a top speed of 25 miles per hour, falling down and rolling several times.
Too many of us live our lives like Tattoo, going at a frantic pace, picking them up and putting them down as fast as we can. Peace can’t be found in worldly activity, but in relationship, a relationship with Christ.
What would be an example of what Paul is talking about...? (look back at 3:5-9)
* Christians can have peace if they avoid sex before marriage because it will prevent them from encountering shame, STDs, unplanned pregnancy, and a broken relationship with God.
* Christians can have peace if they avoid lying because it will prevent them from compromising their integrity, their witness, and their word. Those around them will trust them because they do not lie.
* Christians can have peace if they avoid holding onto grudges because it will prevent physical and emotional stress, broken relationships, and an overall attitude of sin..
When Christians avoid sin, it creates a ’peaceful’ life in that we do not have to deal with the consequences of sin and the problems that the world deals with. We need to let our hearts be ruled by the peace of Christ so that we avoid sin-causing chaos in our lives.
II. OUR HEART SHOULD BE THANKFUL IN ALL THINGS (VERSE 15)
The Apostle Paul was a huge fan of giving thanks. Can anyone guess what his favorite holiday was... Thanksgiving. He believed in thanksgiving so much that 1 Thessalonians 5:18 says, “give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” His letters are always filled in the beginning with “I give thanks for all of you.” He says that over and over. The Apostle Paul was a man who gave much thanks. I think he had much to be thankful for. All he had to do was go back in his mind to the road to Damascus and he had all the motivation he needed to praise God. For it was on that road that he met Jesus, and Jesus saved him. Thankfulness should be apart of our lives and a huge part of our hearts. Many times we don’t stop and remember what God has done for us.