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Tuesday, 13 September 2011

A Fair Umpire

I receive a number of devotional items on a regular basis.  The following arrived in my Inbox today, and I believe that it is worth sharing.

“And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful” (Col.3:15)

The Greek word translated rule in this verse means "to umpire." The apostle Paul says that we should let the peace of Christ be the umpire in our lives. An umpire keeps the peace. He makes sure the game is played in a smooth and orderly fashion. God wants to give us an internal umpire who will keep us at peace even when everything seems chaotic.

Only as we submit to Christ's control and authority can we experience spiritual peace. We may think all we need to do is to get away, but that is not true. We can't run away to get peace. It won't come from divorcing our spouse, giving our children up for adoption, changing jobs, or living as a hermit on the backside of nowhere. Only when we submit our internal world to the Lordship of Christ will we experience peace.

If we really want God's peace, we should ask for it. A psychiatrist was quoted in a newspaper as saying that he could not improve upon the apostle Paul's prescription for human worry. Paul wrote, "Don't worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all He has done. Then you will experience God's peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus" (Phil. 4:6-7). Notice the order: first prayer and then peace. A cause-and-effect relationship exists in this prescription. Prayer is the cause; peace is the effect.

If you and I are not praying, we're likely to be worrying. And worry is such a useless emotion and activity. Worry is the opposite of peace; they cannot coexist. Worry, like a pressure cooker, builds up our internal pressure with negative emotions and concerns. Prayer, on the other hand, functions like a safety valve. When life's stresses become too great and we feel like we are about to explode, prayer releases the stress and frustration. Everyone needs an unconditional listener to unload on, and a fair umpire to call the game. In God we have the perfect embodiment of both roles. We can dump on Him and know that He will not get stressed out by what we tell Him. We can be confident that He will bring order and calm to our daily lives.

Tyndale House Publishers © 2011  (slightly amended).

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