As I walked into my house, my teeth began chattering as soon as the door closed behind me. Because it was warm outdoors, the frigid air inside was shocking. However, the cool temperature set on the thermostat indicated something more to me than the temperature in our home. For more than twenty years my husband and I have debated how cool the thermostat should be set. The coolness of our house reminded me how the atmosphere of a room can be determined by the choices of those who enter it.
When we consider the unrest and harsh, cold behavior so prevalent in the world and in our lives, we realize peace is a commodity in high demand. Equally as pervasive as the world’s harshness is our tendency to respond to our circumstances as if we were powerless, instead of displaying and living out peace amidst the chaos.
Like a boat without an anchor, our choices can bounce to and fro with every wave of distress unless this truth is central: following Jesus means engaging life from a new reality that exists beyond our circumstances (Colossians 3:1). We tie fast that anchor when we set our minds on what is true (Colossians 3:2). This new perspective teaches us that choices that idolize our desires breed “disorder and evil of every kind” (James 3:16; Colossians 3:5,8-9). But peace, the antithesis of chaos, arrives when we exchange mere self-interest for “tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience” (Colossians 3:12).
When we’re steeped in the forgiveness and love of Christ (Colossians 3:13-14), we no longer let our behavior be determined by the crises around us. Instead, we strive to create a peaceful atmosphere. And the warm and inviting ways we exude are the work of the Holy Spirit within us (Colossians 3:15).
NLT 365-day reading plan passage for today: Philippians 3:1-21
Read Philippians 4:6-9 and reflect on how we might create an atmosphere in our lives that reflects the peace that “exceeds anything we can understand” (Philippians 4:7).
Which circumstances of your life are creating the greatest level of unrest for you? How can bringing your struggles to God lead you to experience His love and peace?