Dear church,

What did it mean to live “a peaceful and quiet life,” according to Paul? Whatever it is, it sure sounds good – especially in an era when not much is peaceful or quiet.

We have protests occurring in cities across the country. There is general angst among many people because of COVID-19. And, of course, we’ve long been pressured by all of the media and social media that is available to us today. And we still must work our jobs and raise our families and take care of our loved ones.

“Peaceful and quiet” sounds pretty appealing.

Paul encouraged everyone to pray for others – “all people” – including kings and those in authority. Paul lived in an age where government was kind of sketchy. Anarchy never was far away. Law and order was very much desired. Peace and quiet required a competent government. It was worthy praying for.

Of course, we know that to pray for our government leaders requires we put aside our own personal preferences. We may not like the man or woman in power, but we will pray for that person.

The same goes for the whole idea of praying for “all people.” Paul doesn’t narrow it down, and “all people” includes people we don’t like in our neighborhoods or jobs or families. Again, we set aside our own personal preferences in order to pray for others.

I think this is part of what goes into living “a peaceful and quiet life.” We live that kind of life when we turn our attention to prayer – to the things of God. And God loves all people.

Moreover, the things of God are this: that all people are saved and come to the knowledge of the truth.

Some things simply rise to the top. The salvation of lost people, whether I like them or not, is a central desire of God.

So I think this “peaceful and quiet life” begins with setting aside some of my own personal desires and focusing on the things of God – things like the gospel. The chief commandment, we must remember, is to love God with everything that we have, with our heart, soul, mind, and strength. This comes first. It is the foundation of everything we do, including loving our neighbors.

A “peaceful and quiet life” probably includes finding ways to focus our attention on God. It probably includes finding old and new ways to love him. And this, of course, means letting go of our personal pride and desire and just sitting with him.

So we pray, of course. We never stop praying. We pray for our enemies and for the politicians we don’t like. And we don’t let the ways of the world infiltrate our lives or our churches. And we don’t permit petty disputes to take up our time or to distract us from our mission to love God and love our neighbors.

And sometimes, I think, we ought to just sit in silence for a while. Maybe “quiet” literally means “quiet.” I’ve found amazing things can happen in my own soul when I dedicate myself to silence for a few minutes or hours. We silence our own voice and the voices that want to come into our lives, and we listen for Him.

Chris

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