Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Colossians 3:15
The first thing to notice here is that it reads that the peace of Christ should rule in your hearts. That suggests that the peace of Christ should be the ruler collectively in the body of Christ, not just in our own lives individually. When there is a dispute in the body then, the prevailing rule of the thumb should be figuring out what will benefit peace and not cause strife, conflict, or division. Sometimes it is so easy to get fired up about what truth is at stake that peace loses out. Ephesians 4:3 backs this up. Paul writes, “(be) eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. “
The word for “rule” is the only time it is used in the New Testament. What it refers to is an Olympic judge; the guy that would award a medal or disqualify an athlete from his prize. This guy was the umpire. You can argue all you want but the umpire is the one that gets to make the call. (cited from http://www.mikeleake.net) Peace is the umpire. If peace is sacrificed, then drop it.
You may think important things might get diminished, or compromised. But yet, it seems like most rifts aren’t about whether or not Jesus is the only way to God or other crucial doctrinal tenants. Most conflicts are over hurt feelings, pride, jealousy or matters of preference. If I am growing in the Lord and able to look beyond my own interests, then I should be able to let someone else’s opinion or preference win out. Keeping peace is so much more important than me being right or getting my way. That’s the more mature option.
It is easier to take that option if you have learned to let the peace of Christ rule in your own life. James 3:14-18 reads, But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast and be false to the truth. This is not the wisdom that comes down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice. But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere. And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.
There are some Christians that have chaos ruling their lives, not peace. It could stem from having jealousy and selfish ambition that are not surrendered to God. There is most likely bitterness and pride that needs to get renounced. Those people are difficult to be around because they aren’t aware that the real problem isn’t what everyone is doing to them, but what their own bitterness and jealousy is doing. Disorder results.
And be thankful! Thankful people are hard to bring down. They are quick to point out the things we have in common, rather than to focus on the dividing points in the body. Thankful people are the opposite of those who have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition. Are you thankful?
Take a look inside and see if you have surrendered all of your bitter jealousy and selfish ambition to the Lord so that the peace of Christ can be the umpire in your heart.