Wow! Where do we start in a passage like this, loaded with so much very practical advice? I expect one could spend a lifetime trying to put everything in this passage into practice.
And that, of course, is precisely what we are meant to do. We were never meant to read a passage like this, say a quick prayer, and forget it. We are meant to reflect on the wisdom graciously offered here, consider what it would mean to put such wisdom into practice in our lives—and then do it!
Let us just take one line as an example: And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace for those who make peace (verse 18). Wouldn’t this be a great verse to memorize? To put on our refrigerator, office desk, bathroom mirror, car dash board—all the above? What would it look like to live and pray with this verse for a week or month or year—to work it deep into the soil of our lives so that it does indeed produce the promised harvest?
Where can we make peace today? I don’t think a day ever goes by where I don’t have some opportunity to make peace—or wage war. At home, at work, while driving, at church—what does it look like for us to continually be the kind of people who make peace, who leave the waters calm and placid instead of agitated and stirred up?
The passage gives us some further insight as to how we can sow the seeds of peace. We need to be humble, gentle, willing to yield (ouch!), submit to God (do those two go hand in hand?), wholly resistant to speaking evil against one another. That’s quite a list (and it’s sure not exhaustive). Anybody else struggle with any of these things?
I am personally working through a number of difficult things right now. They sap my emotional energy and leave my heart dry like a tinder box. It does not take much to ignite it. These verses speak to me, loud and clear. Perhaps they do to you too.