1 Thessalonians 5:23 “And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Located in the city of Orlando, Florida is Disneyland, home of Mickey and Minnie Mouse. It is one of the biggest tourist destinations in the entire world, and is one of the main drivers of the economy in Florida. Over the years, I have to say that they have been the recipients of a fair amount of Kingsbury money. On our last visit, we went to the 3-D IMAX Theater. They gave us the special glasses to wear and when the lights went down, the Disney cartoon characters came off the screen. It was hard to avoid putting our hands up in reflex because it looked like they were right in front of us.
They showed pictures taken from inside of an airplane as it dove and turned across the sky. When the plane banked left, everybody in the audience leaned left. When it banked right, everybody leaned to the right. When the plane started doing loops, many of us started feeling sick. The experience was changed from the way it would normally have been seen by the addition of a third dimension. We’ve been talking about 3-D sanctification as it applies to the spirit, the soul, and the body.
Viewing ourselves in 3-D greatly impacts the decisions we make. It is critically important as we make our decisions and choices that we weigh the impact not just on our physical bodies, but on our souls and spirits as well. Remember, as we have seen, we were made in the image of the Triune God, and as a result all three facets of our natures must be taken into account in our lives. There is a connection between God’s peace and our sanctification. Like a pair of 3-D glasses, this truth will change the way you look at the things around you.
From ancient times, the Hebrews have used the greeting “Shalom” which means peace. And the God of the Bible is the God of peace. In fact, there are more than four hundred references in Scripture to the peace of God. So when we see Paul writing by inspiration about “the God of peace” it is not just an empty expression but a vital truth. God is the Source of true peace.
If there is not harmony between our spirit, soul, and body, we are going to find ourselves extremely frustrated. People who do not have this kind of peace are incapable of making wise and prudent decisions. They cannot be good leaders to others, nor can they be good followers. This internal conflict touches every relationship and aspect of life. Internal peace is an absolute essential to external peace. If you don’t get along with yourself, you are not likely to get along with others. Again, let me point out that our tendency is to focus on the natural, physical side of our being. That singular focus leads us to often miss the nature of the real problems we face.
In truth, there is no real peace apart from the God of peace. We must remember that having His peace does not mean there will never be any problems or that things will always go well. We see this truth very clearly earlier in Paul’s letter to the Thessalonians. He began his epistle reminding them of when he first came to town. “For our gospel came not unto you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance; as ye know what manner of men we were among you for your sake. And ye became followers of us, and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction.” (1 Thessalonians1:5-6)
Was Paul where he was supposed to be, doing what he was supposed to be doing in Thessalonica? Absolutely. Paul was completely in the center of God’s perfect will. Were those who heard the Gospel and responded in faith to be saved doing what they were supposed to do? Yes, they were. So why was there affliction? Shouldn’t they have been experiencing God’s peace? They were—the presence of trouble does not preclude the presence of His peace. We can endure the rejection and the afflictions brought on by the world and the enemy of our souls if we cultivate and maintain 3 Dimensional peace.