“What do you think about peace?” my friend asked as we ate lunch together. “Peace?” I said, puzzled. “I’m not sure—why do you ask?” He answered, “Well, as you jiggled your foot during the church service I wondered if you’re agitated about something. Have you considered the peace God gives to those who love Him?”
That day some years ago, I was a bit hurt by my friend’s question, but it started me on a journey. I began exploring the Bible to see how God’s people embraced this gift of well-being, of peace, even in the midst of hardship. As I read Paul’s letter to the Colossians, I chewed over the apostle’s command to let the peace of Christ rule in their hearts (Colossians 3:15).
Paul was writing to a church he’d never visited but had heard about from his friend Epaphras. He was concerned that as they encountered false teaching, they were losing the peace of Christ. But instead of admonishing them, Paul encouraged them to trust Jesus, who would give them assurance and hope (v. 15).
We all will encounter times when we can choose to embrace or refuse the rule of Christ’s peace in our hearts. As we turn to Him, asking Jesus to dwell in us, He will gently release us from the anxiety and cares that weigh us down. As we seek His peace, we trust that He will meet us with His love.
Paul’s letter to the Colossians was one of four letters he wrote while being held as a prisoner in Rome. These four letters, commonly called the “Prison Epistles,” consist of Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, and Philemon. The church letters went to three different destinations in two different regions of the ancient world. Philippians was directed to the church at Philippi, a city in Macedonia (ancient northern Greece), while Ephesians and Colossians were written to two cities (Ephesus, Colossae) in Asia Minor (modern Turkey). The personal letter to Philemon was also delivered to Colossae, where Philemon is believed to have lived, being actively involved in the church there. These letters were probably intended to be circular letters that were read and passed along to other churches.