Follow Peace, Be Holy, See The Lord
Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord. Hebrews 12:14
Times don't change, and there in no new thing under the sun. When the writer of Hebrews penned the words above, he was making an appeal for endurance. There would be trying times in his readers' lives, circumstances that would cause their hands to hang down and their knees to get weak. Some of them would be so tired and useless that they would simply give up and walk away from God's path for them.
Doesn't this sound exactly like today, too? There has been no change in people over the centuries, as believers still give up in the face of trials and turn away from the guidance of the Lord. We still get worn down, frustrated, disillusioned and weary in our well-doing, leading some to just take their toys and go home.
But in Hebrews 12:14, we find words of encouragement for those tough moments. First, follow peace with all men. When your flesh wants to take over, when you want to verbalize your innermost thoughts or you think you would feel better getting everything off your chest, it seems easier to just lash out and deal with the consequences later. After all, isn't that what has been done to you in the past?
Instead, follow peace. Go after it. Pursue it with all your heart. Chase peace wherever it takes you and stay as close behind it as you can. Follow peace, that whispering of the Holy Spirit that directs you to pause before you speak, deal with even the most belligerent of people with kindness and have patience in your soul. It's not easy, or everyone would do it. It takes determination to follow peace, and it requires the resolve to say you won't react in a way that hurts in any way, shape or form.
The other half of the Hebrews 12:14 coin is holiness. What good will it do to make a change in your spiritual life without getting your heart right with God and living a life that is pure in His eyes? That's like washing the supper dishes in the water you washed the lunch dishes in. It may be a good idea to wash them, but it's pretty ineffective to use cold, dirty water. You would never do that, right? You'd empty the old water, rinse out the sink and start over in clean, hot, soapy water.
The same applies to your heart. If you're going to follow peace with all men, God wants you to be a clean, pure, holy vessel for Him first. He can't use you to your full potential if you have filth left inside you. This is the time to purge yourself of anything that is separating you from the Lord, and only you know what that is. It's probably that thing that you're comfortable with, scared to give up or refusing to lay down. Start there and pray about anything in your life that is keeping you from holiness.
With these two messages in mind, men will be able to see the Lord. When you're treating everyone in your life with love and respect, following peace in your relationships, they will see God working and moving in and through you. If you were to attempt peace with all men without living a holy life, they won't believe anything spiritual you try to share with them - and why would they? You're not living it, so your influence is drastically reduced.
The purpose of your time here on earth is to bring God glory and honor. Your testimony is based on how you let Him use you in His way. If you're truly following peace with all men and making your vessel and life holy every day, those who know and love you - and even strangers you meet in passing - will be able to see the Lord in you. And it may be the only time they ever see Him. Let your faith lead everyone back to God.