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Wednesday, June 17, 2009

the effect of righteousness is peace

I was thinking this morning (come on, you know I wake up at the crack of dawn!) on the words ‘all things’ and how much impact they have on us as the people of God. When we are living for the Lord His influence is spread to ‘all things’ in our lives. We keep house in a way that we believe is pleasing to Him. We care for our children in a way we believe is pleasing to Him and we meet new neighbors in a way we believe is pleasing to Him.

As I’ve lived for the Lord I have seen changes in my own life. They often weren’t really conscious, but looking back I can see them and as I go about in the homes of others I can see the same things happening. I speak about wives and mothers because I am a woman. But the same things are true of men.

The concept of Peace is a good example. Isaiah tell us the ‘work of righteousness shall be peace and the effect of righteousness is quietness" The truly righteous child of God lives her life in a peaceful way. Her words to her husband are quiet and peaceful, slow and gentle. (and vice versa I might say) The household is quiet and when young children are boisterous there is still no atmosphere of chaos. Even in the face of crises, the woman of God is able to maintain a calm demeanor–not that she doesn’t get upset or unhappy, but she doesn’t become accusatory and angry and spiteful toward those involved.

The woman of God has tremendous influence on the atmosphere of the home. Are the children quiet and well-behaved? Look at the conduct of the wife and mother. Are the pets well mannered and friendly? Or are they vicious or cowed into submission? Look at the tone of the words used in control and discipline by the mother. Are the children and pets responsive to directions, answering quickly and responding quietly? Look at the attitude of the mother giving directions. Is the husband and father respected and appreciated when he returns from work? Or is he met with complaints and defiance from the children? And nagging discontent from the wife? Look at the attitude of the woman in the family. And I truly mean attitude. Many Christians give lip-service to the idea of righteousness and peace, but they don't possess or display it in the deepest attitudes of their hearts.

It is true in every area of the Child of God’s life. Hidden attitudes of discontent, selfishness and unrighteousness peek out in unlikely places. They show up in the lives of the youngest and most impressionaable among the family. The peace of God doesn’t just show in spiritual things but in every aspect of the way we live. If we truly have peace and submission to God in our hearts there will be no discontent, or anger or dissatisfaction or selfishness seeping out to be reflected in our families and on others in our sphere of acquaintance.

Righteousness in our hearts causes peace to overflow into the way we deal with neighbors, friends, grocers, co-workers, everyone. We don’t necessarily walk around spouting peace mottos and being all mealy-mouthed about issues, but we will conduct ourselves peaceably in all ways. The aspects of peace will not just apply during service, but also during our daily lives. It isn't just talking about it, it is living it.

I guess that is one of those things we only learn with age and experience and years of observation of the effect of God’s Grace in our lives. The effect of righteousness truly is peace and quietness and assurance, but we must have the righteousness deeply instilled for the effects to show up.

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