Wednesday, November 17, 2021

Peace is the fruit of Authority

 


Word Study inspired by I Thessalonians 5:23-24:


I Thessalonians 5:23-24--May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The one who calls you is faithful and he will do it.

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I Corinthians 6:17--But he who unites himself with the Lord is one with him in spirit..

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I Corinthians 3:16--Don't you know that you yourselves are God's temple and that God's Spirit lives in you?

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II Corinthians 6:16--What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: "I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people."


Colossians 3:15—Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.

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Scripture teaches us that humans are made up of three components: spirit, soul, and body. My body may have been hurt and my soul—the seat of emotions—may have been injured, but my spirit—the innermost part of my being, where the Spirit of Christ dwells—cannot be touched. Therefore, what defines me most has never been touched. God taught me that the more I allowed the Spirit of Truth dwelling in me to take authority over my body and soul, the more the wholeness of Christ would overtake every part of me. In other words, God taught me to live from the inside-out. I seek to allow the strongest, most invincible part of me—the spirit—to have dominion over all else, thereby sanctifying them (setting them apart as holy) just as I Thessalonians 5:23 suggests. Now I live most consciously out of my healthiest part—the Spirit. Through the years, the health of my spirit has been gloriously contagious to my soul and even to my body. According to I Corinthians 3:16 and II Corinthians 6:16, our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit. In some ways, broken temples can be rebuilt. The Spirit of Christ dwelling within me has overtaken my whole being.

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God created us as to be whole creatures made of three different components: body, soul, and spirit. As long as we see God as Lord of our spirits alone, we will continue to live in areas of defeat. God is as surely Lord of our souls and body as He is our spirits. It’s all His turf. In fact, take a refreshing look at 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24. “May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul, and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The one who calls you is faithful and he will do it.” 

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First of all, please celebrate the glorious fact that God Himself is the One at work in you and through you. He hasn’t just assigned you a mighty angel. God is thoroughly interested and involved in every single part of you: body, soul, and spirit.

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Second, notice that the verse identifies God specifically as the God of peace. The Word of God is perfectly inspired; therefore, every identification of God, every name He is called, is in perfect context. In this case the inference of the title is that the believer will be awash with God’s peace when every part of the life—body, soul, and spirit—is surrendered to His wise, loving, and liberating authority. I know far too well how distant the peace of God is when we refuse to bow a part of our lives to His rule. 

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Peace is the fruit of authority. God’s authority. As Colossians 3:15 says, “Let the peace of Christ rule. Christ brings His peace where He is Prince. That’s what the title “Prince of Peace” represents.

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Third, don’t miss what God Himself desires to do. First Thessalonians 5:23 proceeds to tell us that this glorious God of peace wants to sanctify us “through and through.” The original Greek word for “sanctify” is hagiazo, meaning “to make clean, render pure…to consecrate, devote, set apart from a common to a sacred use…to regard and venerate as holy, to hallow.” In other words, God deeply desires for us to grant Him total access to set apart every single part of our lives—body, soul, and spirit—to His glorious work. Always keep in mind that anything to God’s glory is also for our good. The two concepts are never at odds. God’s inclusion of the physical body is proof among many others in Scripture that He cares deeply what happens to these tents of flesh in which we dwell. Indeed, our physical bodies are the temples of the Holy Spirit.

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For just a moment, let’s think of ourselves like triangles. Imagine each point of the triangle being labeled as body, soul, or spirit. If the triangle is sitting on its base, only one point is “up.” Imagine that point being the one in present control of us. For instance, when distinguished from the spirit as in 1 Thessalonians 5:23, the soul represents the seat of our emotions and our personality. 

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If the “soul” is in the upward, authoritative position in our lives, then we are ruled by our feelings and our personality types. All of us know what kind of trouble results from being under that kind of authority! Our feelings and personalities are given to us by God, but they are not meant to control us. 

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Now picture that the “body” is in the upward position and momentarily ruling over our triangular selves. We don’t have to be terribly bright to imagine what can happen because we’ve all experienced the upheaval firsthand: our fleshly appetites and physical drives and habits take over. Our “appetites” become our masters. Certainly, our physical bodies are gifts from God “fearfully and wonderfully made,” but when they control us, the result is bondage. Also understand that one area exerts tremendous influence over the others. As you know, our feelings can drive our physical appetites just as our physical appetites can drive our feelings.

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The “point” we need in the upward position to live in victory is the Spirit. All of us were born with a “spirit.” When distinguished from the soul, it represents the part of us created in the image of God to know Him and enjoy His fellowship. It is the primary component in us that sets us apart from all other creatures. Until we are redeemed and inhabited by Christ (Rom. 8:9), our spirits are no better off than our souls and bodies. But, glory to God, when we receive Christ, His Spirit takes residency in ours! 

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First Corinthians 6:17 speaks of this supernatural consolidation: “he who unites himself with the Lord is one with him in spirit.” The key to victory as we occupy this triangular temple is to bow daily, perhaps a half dozen times daily, to the control of the Holy Spirit over our lives. Our bodies and our feelings and personalities are wonderful components sanctified by God when the Spirit is in control. I am convinced that a huge part of wholeness in the life of a believer is when God has been allowed to sanctify (take over and set apart) our whole spirit, soul, and body. 

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The question of authority is one we are challenged to answer every single day. The concept of rededicating our lives to Christ only at infrequent revivals or conferences can prove disappointing and defeating. Joshua 24:15 suggests a far more workable approach: “Choose this day whom you will serve.” Christ repeated the concept when He called us to take up our crosses daily and follow Him. 

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Do you want to know something wonderful? A daily recommitment is not to ensure that we’ll never fail, but to help us develop the mentality that every single day is a new day—a new chance to follow Christ. Obedience to God is not some diet we suddenly blow. It is something to which we recommit every single day, no matter how we blew it the day before. 

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Victorious living is not an instant arrival. It is the pursuit of one victorious day at a time until the sun sets on enough to begin forming victorious habits. 

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So, are you just about to give up? Good. Give yourself up to God, to the authority of His Holy Spirit. Both Galatians 5:22 and II Timothy 1:7 tell us that self- discipline is a work and a quality of the fruit of the Spirit. Stop feeling guilty because you don’t have any self-discipline on your own. Neither does that together-looking person next to you. None of us can master ourselves. Some yokes may be more obvious than others, but all of us have had them. God is the only One who can sanctify and make every part of us whole…“and He will do it.” All He wants is our trust, our belief, and a little time…For without Him, we can do nothing (John 15:5) and with Him, we can do anything (Phil. 4:13).

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II Timothy 1:7--For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. 

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Galatians 5:22-23--When the Holy Spirit controls our lives, he will produce this kind of fruit in us: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. 

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Suppose you wanted to start an apple orchard. In early spring you carefully cut dozens of twigs from an apple tree and stick them in the ground twenty feet apart. You water and fertilize and watch and wait. But in the fall, you have no apples to pick. Why? Because those twigs could not mature and bear fruit once they were not rooted in the tree they came from. The same is true with spiritual fruit. It is only when we belong to Christ and stay close to him that his Spirit lives in us and produces the virtues, or “fruit,” listed in Galatians 5:22-23.

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Self-effort won’t produce this fruit. Good intentions won’t produce love, joy, peace, patience, or kindness. Instead, as we yield ourselves to Christ, his Spirit lives and moves freely through us and touches others through our lives. We express his gentleness as we respond to children, his great patience as we encounter difficult people. We demonstrate his faithfulness as we keep commitments, and we share his goodness and kindness as we bless others. 

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Corrie ten Boom writes: “I have a glove here in my hand. The glove cannot do anything by itself, but when my hand is in it, it can do many things. True, it is not the glove, but my hand in the glove that acts. We are gloves. It is the Spirit of Christ in us Who is the hand, Who does the job. We have to make room for the Hand so that every finger is filled.”

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LORD, teach me to yield to the authority and control of the Spirit of Christ Who dwells in the innermost part of me. How I realize that none of the virtues reside within my flesh. But this understanding is a gift from You that enables me to humble myself before You and rely wholly on Your Spirit rising up within me. Do so, Lord, and may the fruit You produce draw others to You! In Jesus’ name we pray, amen.

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Look Up—meditate on I Thessalonians 5:23-24… pray to see what it reveals about the character of God.

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Look In—as you meditate on I Thessalonians 5:23-24… pray to see how you might apply it to your life. Be propelled to ask galvanizing questions about your discoveries: "Because God is_________, I will_____________."

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Look Out—as you meditate on I Thessalonians 5:23-24 … pray to see how you might apply it to your relationships with others. Let the nature of God impact on every relationship, for your good, and for His glory.


8 comments:

  1. Thank you for sharing this word study. So wonderfully spoken. Blessings.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thank you for sharing this word study. So wonderfully spoken. Blessings.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Hi Beth Thank you so much for sharing your post at our Senior Salon Pit Stop.
    Pinned to Senior Salon Pit Stop InLinkz Linkup Shares board and tweeted @EsmeSalon #SeniorSalonPitStop

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  4. I'm soaking in your words today, friend! Thanks for digging deep, as always!

    ReplyDelete

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