Pursue or Persecute?

19 So then we pursue the things which make for peace and the building up of one another.  20 Do not tear down the work of God for the sake of food (Romans 14).

This word “pursue” is used 47 times in the New Testament, and over 90% of the time is translated “persecute” in the sense of running after someone to do them harm. Persecution always involves an intense and pro-active stance—it doesn’t just happen on its own. So, it’s as if Paul is using this word to emphasize that “peace and the building up of one another” will also not just happen on their own—they must be “pursued.”

Instead of “pursuing” division among brethren who have a different opinion, and “tearing down the work of God” in their lives, we should be all about “building up…one another.” For the truth is, God is at work in the lives of believers who have a different opinion over non-essentials of the faith. What would our churches look like if every member actually pursued other brothers and sisters instead of persecuting them?

Lord, thank You for pursuing us—for making peace with us and for always building us up! Help us This Day to do the same for our brothers and sisters in Christ. Amen.