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Beware of Peace!
When peace graces our lives, and battle and hardship are distant, we can slip into comfortable slumber neglecting to seek God urgently in prayer. That's when we need to beware!

Beware of fighting, arguments, divisions and all manner of strife, right? I think we'd all agree that these toxic and violating behaviours are to be avoided whenever possible by Christians. But did you ever think about the different, yet similarly dangerous threats that peace can bring?

Let's build in this time of peace.

Peace is a gift from God, so in response to the title, why should we beware of peace? Well, peace provides an environment that is non-threatening and thereby encourages the free and open development of the fruits of the Spirit, among other things. We should pursue peace and vigilantly guard against any threat to that peace, but peace can also be a door to the enemy!

When threats to our stability are removed and the bond we developed during the battles is not so crucial, it can seem that we don't need a close contact with God in prayer. Instead we can potentially go to sleep thinking that the worst is over.

It reminds me of driving on the Prairies. It is a peaceful thing to do, especially on the country highways. An occasional passing car, a grazing deer in the distance, or a road crew at work are about the only diversions to keep my interest when traveling from Saskatoon to Yorkton.

Last year I took such a journey. I was returning from the Alberta summer camp. It had been a long week, and I had missed many hours of sleep. I was driving in cruise control in a bit of a haze until I got near North Battleford when I felt the irresistible urge to take forty winks. After nearly missing a curve in the road (probably the only one for the next thousand miles), I was forced to pull over at the nearest truck-stop and sleep for half an hour.

If there had been some crisis up ahead with perhaps a mud-slide across the road and emergency vehicles flashing their annoying lights, my adrenaline would have kept me at full alert. However, with just the routine task of peacefully driving in rural Saskatchewan, my mind automatically chose sleep.

I tried everything to prevent slumber. I rolled down my driver-side window at 100kph (or so) and stuck my head out to try to shock my system. I cranked the stereo up—way up! 70s rock didn't do it and neither did a full blast of Beethoven's 5th symphony. Still nature's inertia demanded that I rest. My final attempt was in the form of a Subway roast beef sandwich crammed to the gills with jalapeno peppers (that almost worked, I certainly had no trouble staying awake the next day).

We must remember the lessons of Deuteronomy chapter eight, in which the Israelites were warned about the potential dangers which were brought about by entering the promised land and successfully defeating their enemies. They would live in a land flowing with "milk and honey," they would be victorious in battle, and they would have the peace which allowed the young men to spend lots of time at home to populate Palestine!

Deuteronomy 8:10, "When you have eaten and are satisfied, praise the Lord your God for the good land He has given you. Be careful that you do not forget the Lord your God, failing to observe His commands, His laws and His decrees that I am giving you this day."

We should not live in a permanent state of distress, and we shouldn't manufacture crisis just so that we can feel like blood-brothers/sisters in battle. Let's build in this time of peace. I encourage you to focus on positive issues, to show God that you don't just run to Him in prayer because you need something from Him. Lastly, let's make sure we keep the Spirit stirred up in our lives by looking for ways to use the gifts of the Spirit, by being responsive to the Spirit's direction in our lives, and by never taking God's gift of peace to our congregations for granted.

Colin Wallace is the pastor of the Saskatoon, Prince Albert and Tisdale, Saskatchewan Worldwide Church of God congregations.

Originally published in the Northern Light Magazine, July/August 1998




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