"Quiet and Peaceful Lives" (II)
Describing a purpose for government and a purpose for public prayer, Paul also described a goal for our lives. This article is written to explain this goal for our lives, and to explain how we ought to follow this goal.
I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf, and give thanks for them.Pray this way for kings and all who are in authority so that we can live peaceful and quiet lives marked by godliness and dignity.This is good and pleases God our Savior" (I Tim. 2:1-3).
What Do These Words Mean?
Four words outline God's hope for our lives: (i) peaceful, (ii) quiet, (iii) godly, and (iv) dignified.
- Peaceful describes a life free fromdisturbance, without needless commotion or disturbances, and a lifestyle that is tranquil.
- Quiet speaks of a steady inner-calmness.
- Godly calls us to be spiritually minded and to follow divine priorities.
- Dignified describes a morally-elevated life of gravity, piety, and reverence.
More than just describing a hope for our lives, these words outline a uniquely Christian way of life. Instead of floundering from drama, to distress, to disaster, Christians seek a port in the storm and "an anchor for the soul, firm and secure" (Heb. 6:19). We should seek outward stillness and inner serenity.
The Government's Role And Prayers For Government
"The Most High is ruler over the realm of mankind, And bestows it on whom He wishes" (Dan. 4:17). In other words, there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God" (Rom. 13:1). But like all other God-ordained institutions, God has a specific purpose for governments. They are to preserve public order so we can pursue inner peace. "The prayers of Christians for the government bring down from heaven peace and order in a state" (Matthew Henry).
This passage is an excellent example of a prayer being answered with a "No." Written in about 60 A.D., I Timothy came on the cusp of great persecutions. Government did not fulfill its role and Christians did not inherit this blessing. Was there anything else to do?
Beyond Government And Prayer
More than a few have observed that, if we are to pray that government will conduct itself so that we can lead "quiet and peaceful lives," then we ought also seek quiet and peace for ourselves. Floundering from drama, to distress, to disaster, as many do, is not conducive to "godliness and dignity." Instead of being helpless victims, as if in an incontrollable storm, we should act in ways that promote our own stillness and serenity.
What can we do?
Christian people tend to collect strays. Believing that we can help and sincerely wanting to help, we often collect companions that desperately need lots and lots and lots of help. But some companions are not worth having (I Cor. 15:33) and those who need too much help might demand more than our lives can stand. We should choose close relationships with those who will add peace to our lives.
We should select a peaceful and properly paced lifestyle. Some life choices allow more time for Christianity than others. If we are always saying, "I can do it, I can do it, I can do it," we probably can't.
Philippians 4:4-8 lists other deliberate choices that promote quite, peace, godliness, and dignity:
Rejoice in the Lord...Let your reasonableness be known to everyone...do not be anxious about anything,but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.Andthe peace of God,which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds...whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.
Three important words accompany the suggestions above - choose, select, and choices. All three words imply that we are able to effect the quality of our own life with our own decisions. We can improve the quality of our life, and we should.