1 Peter 3:8-15
We all come from different backgrounds, cultures, and experiences which means that we will all interpret things differently. It is interesting how one thing can be normal for a person, but their neighbor can find it offensive. This is especially true when we live in a neighborhood that is very diverse and has people from different countries. For example, in America, we value punctuality and some will get offended if they are left waiting for a person. In some cultures, it is acceptable to be late if it is because you didn't want to leave the company you're in and offend them by not spending enough time with them. Throw church into the mix of backgrounds and cultures and you can have a divisive nature stirring because we all worship differently. Please look at what God tells us about peace and harmony among each other in 1 Peter 3:8-15.
I believe one of the enemy's attacks is to cause division in the church. It saddens me to think of how some churches because hurt or close to splitting over the color of the carpet in the sanctuary. If division can happen over something as simple as paint and carpet, think of what happens when there is a disagreement on how ministry should be done. We are told in this passage that we are to sympathize with each other and keep a humble attitude. I think part of humility is letting go of what your preferences are and stepping aside to allow someone else to be comfortable. Imagine what would happen if we could all remember to do that!
Verse 11 says, "Search for peace and work to maintain it." To me, that sounds as if peace doesn't just happen; we need to be actively striving to find peace. Even when we find peace with each other, it takes work to maintain it. Earlier in the week, I looked at how Christ is where we find our peace so we must keep Christ the center of all our relationships. We cannot create peace on our own, but if we are allowing Christ to change our hearts we will find peace.
What does this have to do with the Armor of God? I believe if we are in peace together, we are able to stand firm as one with God and as a church. We will be ready to share the hope we have in Christ because we will be showing the world the peace that only God can give. We will be able to share the hope in Christ because people will want to know why we are different.
Are you searching for peace? Are you willing to be humble?