The Umpire

Colossians 3:15 “And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful.”

The classic american past time is traditionally attributed to the game of baseball. Overseeing each baseball game is the home plate umpire. An umpire at a sporting event decides and settles with finality any question that arises in the game.  An umpire decides if a player is in or out of the game.  Basically, the umpire rules. Without an umpire, the game would lack control, calls would be questioned, and arguments would arise as to what is true and what isn’t true.

The encouragement given by Paul to the church at Colossae is in regards to what, or more importantly, who rules over your heart. Just like in baseball, the course of a game is determined by the oversight of the umpire, so the course of our hearts will be determined by who rules over it.

The text in the Amplified Bible helps bring some clarity to this issue:

Let the peace of Christ [the inner calm of one who walks daily with Him] be the controlling factor in your hearts [deciding and settling questions that arise]. To this peace indeed you were called as members in one body [of believers]. And be thankful [to God always].”

Steps toward Peace

If our hearts were without some form of control, they would be influenced by what is most favorable for them at the moment. The desire to please self becomes an all consuming motive for the one who places their desires as a priority.

“The world is so full of people who are grabbing and self-seeking. So the rare individual who unselfishly tries to serve others has an enormous advantage. He has little competition.”

Dale Carnegie

Dale Carnegie was an american writer and lecturer, he was most famous for being the author of “How to win friends and influence people”. One of the core ideas in his books is that it is possible to change other people’s behavior by changing one’s behavior towards them, a concept that was established long ago in God’s Word.

Philippians 2:3 “Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself.”

How do we look to others interests before our own? What about looking towards God’s interests? This isn’t a natural response for the flesh, rather the flesh excels at seeking its own interests before it considers anything else.

The primary influences we allow into our lives determines the course of action that follows.

  • Peace begins and ends with Christ.

John 14:27 “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”

  • To have the peace of Christ, we must allow Him to rule.

The peace of Christ not only is achieved by a singular event that comes with a decision to follow, it also comes by way of walking with Him daily. The moment a person decides to commit their life to Christ, a transformation begins to occur. The enmity that existed between God and man was made peaceful when the sin that separated was absolved by Jesus’ perfect sacrifice. In order to substantiate peace within our life on a daily basis, the process of peace comes by way of transformation that happens at salvation.

  • To walk in the peace of Christ is to allow His Spirit to work in us.

A daily walk with Christ comes through His Spirit who leads us in paths that strengthen and grow us in our faith. The work of the Spirit is His sanctifying work within us. To be sanctified is to learn how to be set apart or made holy before the Lord and before the world.

1 Thessalonians 5:23 “Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Who do you live for?

If we are too consumed with the approval of the world, we will turn our attention towards pleasing the world.

Brother Andrew was a man that courageously put his life on the line smuggling Bibles into the Soviet Union during the cold war. He would often pray “Lord, in my luggage I have Scripture I want to take to your children. When you were on earth, You made blind eyes see. Now, I pray, make seeing eyes blind.  Do not let the guards see those things You do not want them to see.” Brother Andrew did not see his life as his priority but those to whom he served, he gave his life every day as a testimony of HIs love for Christ.

“I have come to see clearly that life is more than self. It is more than doing what I want, striving for what will benefit me, dreaming of all I can be. Life is all about my relationship with God. There is no higher calling, no loftier dream, and no greater goal than to live, breathe, and be poured out for Jesus Christ.”

Jamie in brother Andrews “the calling”

When we choose to honor God first in our lives, we are faced with a series of obstacles that must be addressed.

  • What is really important to me?
  • Who will I honor when the time comes to decide?
  • How will I respond when the crossroad gives me the choice?
  • Where are my allegiances?
  • Why am I here?

We are continuously faced with decisions each day. We have choices to make regarding life and holiness. What I say or do at any given moment, is a decision to either make myself look better or to honor the One by whom I am called.

The places I put myself in can determine whether I succeed or fail. If I set myself before sin continually, I am bound to grow weak and fall. If my influences and the people I associate with are righteous, I give myself the opportunity to grow and be a light to others who don’t know God’s peace.

How do I make Decisions?

The peace of God becomes the litmus test as to whether I am walking in the light or walking in the darkness of sin. By drawing near to the Lord, I become intimately acquainted with His peace. The moment I sense God’s peace beginning to diminish, I can quickly alter my course and allow that sensitivity to guide my steps.

Peace becomes the “Umpire” of my soul.

This peace, the world will never know. It is reserved for God’s people and to God’s people alone will they be governed by it.

Matthew 10:34 “Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword.”–Jesus

The Lord doesn’t cast a blanket of peace over the land, to the contrary, the world hates the things of God and wants nothing to do with His path. For those who come out of the world, the world will hate them also. The more we resemble Christ, the more the world will hate you.

It will be at that moment, the moment you realize you are not of the world that you will have a choice to make. Do I go back and try to please the world or do I press forward, toward the high calling of God and trust Him for where He leads?

Becoming a believer is not an easy one but it is a blessed one.

Luke 6:20-23 “Blessed are you poor,
For yours is the kingdom of God.
Blessed are you who hunger now,
For you shall be filled.
Blessed are you who weep now,
For you shall laugh.
Blessed are you when men hate you,
And when they exclude you,
And revile you, and cast out your name as evil,
For the Son of Man’s sake.
Rejoice in that day and leap for joy!
For indeed your reward is great in heaven,
For in like manner their fathers did to the prophets.”

The path of peace leads to the gates of Heaven. On the other side is the reward for those who remain steadfast in God’s love. Your peace that you experience now is only a foretaste of the peace that is to come.

This is the hope of the man and woman of God. That is what we know now and therefore we have the confidence in all that God has promised.

Walk in God’s promises—walk in His peace.

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