29 But Peter and the other apostles answered and said: “We ought to obey God rather than men. — Acts 5:29 NKJV
In Romans and other Scriptures we are taught to obey the laws of the land. We are also taught to respect the officials and to pray for those who rule over us. In today’s military, we are taught to obey all orders that are legal and moral. There are times when we, as Christians, have to make decisions about how far we can go in obeying others. Peter and the apostles did not need time to think about or pray about their decision. They had already decided that they should obey God rather than man. With this in mind, we should have already made a predetermined decision that when laws conflict with the Holy Scriptures, we will obey God and His word. From a temporary, worldly viewpoint, this can be a costly decision. We have brothers and sisters who are being persecuted, imprisoned, beaten and murdered because they refuse to deny Jesus as their Savior and Lord. There are youths of all ages that are beaten by their own parents and kicked out of their homes because they have converted to Christianity and refuse to turn back. Let us pray for them on a daily basis. The mantra of the persecuted Christians is “It is harder to live for Christ than it is to die for Him”‘ As our society grows more evil and violent, we must come to that same conclusion now before the pressure is really on. From an eternal, spiritual viewpoint, it is an easy decision to decide for the Lord.
7 For none of us lives to himself, and no one dies to himself. 8 For if we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. Therefore, whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s. — Romans 14:7, 8 NKJV
15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. 16 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. 17 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. — Col. 3:15-17 NIV
The word that Jesus used for peace in John 14:27 when He said, “my peace I leave with you” is the Greek word “eirene” pronounced a-ra-na. Like shalom in the Old Testament, it has a much more complex meaning than just an absence of war or conflict. If you look up shalom in the Strong’s Concordance, you will find a long list of what shalom can mean to us.
According to Strong’s Concordance 7965 Shalom means completeness, wholeness, health, peace, welfare, safety soundness, tranquility, prosperity, perfectness, fullness, rest, harmony, the absence of agitation or discord. Shalom comes from the root verb shalom meaning to be complete, perfect and full
This is “the peace of Christ” and that is what the word conveyed to the disciples. It is also what Jesus has given to all of us who accept Him as our Savior and make Him Lord of our lives. Is there anything missing from this list that we need to live lives that are full of peace and joy? Let us be thankful and allow this “message of Christ to dwell among us richly”. To “dwell” means to live in a specified place. For that to happen in our lives, we must meditate on the Word of God and store his Word in our hearts. Then when problems arise in our lives and the lives of those around us, we can encourage ourselves and others with the Word, psalms, hymns and Spiritual songs. Jesus died on the cross that we might live abundant lives full of peace and joy. So, when satan comes around with all of his lies, we can rebuke him with the Word, just as Jesus did.
10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly. — John 10:10 NASB