What is Ruling in My Heart?
by Mary Alice McGinnis
It was a particularly tense day. Harsh words were said, tempers flared, and voices raised. My typical reaction to such friction is to fight back until things escalate and I say some things I regret. Then I withdraw to get some space.
On this day, after things had escalated and I indeed said some things I regretted, I marched up to my room, got undressed and ready to take a shower. I was brooding over the situation, telling myself how wrong and unfair the whole thing was. My anger was scorching hot, and so far, giving myself space had not simmered me down.
As I walked into the shower, I heard this in my head – “Let the peace of Christ rule in your heart.”
As I stood there with the water sprinkling down on my disrobed body, I had to nakedly ask myself, “What is ruling in my heart right now? Some sort of fear? Some need to be right?”
As I kept prayerfully repeating, “Let Your peace rule in my heart Lord Jesus,” over and over, I felt God’s peace rain down on me.
Reread though today’s passage and notice how many times a plural noun or pronoun is use. It is written in the context of community. And being in relationships with other people is often messy, even among Christians.
Paul says, “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.”
The peace of Christ that God was inviting me into that day was not a peace just within my own individual heart, soaked in God’s love for ME. Notice it says “HEARTS.” And that verse continues, “Since as members of one body you were called to peace.”
It reminded me that as fellow believers, we are all God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved. We are all made holy in His sight by the same Savior. I am not more favored by God, more special, more “right” (especially before God) than any of my other brothers and sisters. Jesus made peace between me and God, even when I did not deserve it. My sins were nailed on the same cross right along side theirs.
Where is God inviting you to let go of resentment against someone in your life today? Where is He leading you to embrace that as a member of His body – His children - you are called to peace? Where does He want to rain down His healing rain of peace in your life?
Breath Prayer – Take 2-3 minutes today to pray a simple breath prayer. Get somewhere quiet and relaxing. Breathe in deeply, and then breathe out fully. As you breathe in, ask God to fill you with His presence, grace, love, and peace. What can you be thankful for today? As you breathe out, offer to God the things you need Him to take from you – sin, doubt, shame, anxiety, fear, etc. Pray this way for just a few minutes, trusting God to work, and inviting Holy Spirit to fill you with the peace of Christ in to rule your hearts today.