Today’s Reading: Colossians 3
Every spring and summer, fields all over the United States are filled with athletes playing baseball. In the major leagues, the Bigs, the best players in the world come together in the thirty stadiums around the country. They draw great attention and praise. But those games wouldn’t happen or go well without the people on the field dressed in black jackets. They look different from any other person on the field, and they are called umpires.
No matter how good the players are—how fast they can pitch, how far they can hit or throw . . . the emotions of the game can cloud their decisions. And they need those umpires to keep order. Umpires decide the course and calls of the game. Who is safe and who is out. Which pitches are balls and which are strikes.
The baseball diamond needs a neutral party who sees the situation clearly and makes the correct call—not the call the fans or the players want, but the right call. They cannot be impaired by emotion, peer pressure, or even popular opinion. They must be moved by justice and the right thing.
Baseball isn’t the only thing that needs an umpire. We need an umpire for the same reason. Emotions can cloud all our decisions. We want to do the right thing, but we have so many forces fighting against us. When peer pressure comes, and the voices from the outside try to get you to move into chaos, you too have an umpire to make a call. The apostle Paul tells the Colossian believers who are being inundated with outside religious opinions and additions to walk very carefully and keep Christ in focus. He says, “Let the peace of Christ keep you in tune with each other, in step with each other. None of this going off and doing your own thing. And cultivate thankfulness” (Colossians 3:15, MSG).
Think about this phrase, Let the peace of God rule in your hearts. The peace of God is your umpire. The key word is rule. In Sparkling Gems from the Greek, Rick Renner discusses this word:
I especially want you to notice the word “rule” in this verse. It is from the Greek word brabeuo, which in ancient times was used to describe the umpire or referee who moderated and judged the athletic competitions that were so popular in the ancient world.
Paul uses this word to tell us that the peace of God can work like an umpire or referee in our hearts, minds, and emotions.
Peace must guide us to each place and in each decision. Colossians 3:15 could be translated: “Let the peace of God call the shots in your life”; “Let the peace of God be the umpire in your life and actions”; “Let the peace of God act as referee in your emotions and your decisions.”
If we have no peace over something, then we are out at first base, and we need to get off the field. If we have peace over a decision, the umpire has told us that we are safe and we get to stay and continue on. Peace is the guiding principle for the believer—the umpire that tells us what’s right so that chaos doesn’t ensue.
Do you ever say about a decision, “I feel funny about this” or “Something doesn’t feel right about going here or doing this”? That means you don’t feel peace.
Don’t overrule the umpire. Peace is God’s mechanism to help you make good decisions today and stay on the field. As Curtis Hutson said, “When the believer is faced with a decision regarding a questionable matter, he should never proceed unless he has complete peace about it.” A host of emotions comes to us because life throws so many things at us. And nothing can blur our decision making like emotions.
Look at what Paul tells us after the peace verse. It’s brilliant: “Let the Word of Christ—the Message—have the run of the house. Give it plenty of room in your lives. Instruct and direct one another using good common sense” (verse 16, MSG). Paul is saying that the best place to start with wanting to know the right call is the Bible. If you want the peace of Christ, start with the Word of God. You can always bet on a safe from the umpire if the Word of God supports the next steps.
Peace is the umpire. The Word of God is the playbook the umpires work out of.