“But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful” (Colossians 3:14-15).
Three things are essential to congregational peace. First, love is “the bond of perfection” (NKJV) or “the bond of unity” (NASB). Christians are to “put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another… but above all these things put on love. James Burton Coffman comments, “The thought here appears to be not that of adding love as an additional Christian grace, but rather that of making love the cement that holds everything else in place” (studylight.org). John Kackelman Jr. differs a bit commenting, “‘Above all’ could be rendered ‘on the top of all.’ Using the clothing metaphor we find that love is the final piece of clothing to be put on. It is to be like the ‘belt’ or ‘girdle’ which bound the loose flowing robes of the first century dress. The only way that the other seven articles of clothing can be secured on the believer’s person is by the binding of them with the girdle of love. Love completes the dress of the believer.” (Kackelman, Studies in Colossians, pp. 111-112). Both commentators understand love to be that which holds the other traits (tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering:bearing and forgiving) in place.
Second, the peace of God is to rule the hearts. The message of the gospel is called “the gospel of peace” (Romans 10:15; Ephesians 6:15). God’s word must have rule in our hearts. The word “rule” (brabeuo) means: “to act as an umpire” (Vine’s); “to be an umpire; to decide, determine; to direct, control, rule” (Thayer). Alan Adams comments, “Much of the turmoil which plagues individual Christians, and consequently the ‘one body,’ come as a result of people deciding to call their own balls and strikes, fouls and fairs” (ed. Garland Robinson, The Church at Colosse, p. 151). God’s word should be regarded as our objective standard (not merely “I feel,” or “I think”). It teaches peace (e.g. Matthew 5:9; Romans 12:18; 14:19; 2 Timothy 2:22; Hebrews 12:14, etc.). It instructs us how to deal with issues between brethren (e.g. Matthew 5:23-24; 6:14-15; 18:15-17; 18:21-35; Luke 17:3-4; Romans 14:14-23; 16:17; 1 Corinthians 5:1-13; 8:1-13; 10:23-33; 2 Corinthians 2:6-11; Titus 3:10, etc.). It is to be our standard and rule book.
Third, thankfulness is needed. The word “thanks” appears in some form in every chapter of Colossians, a total of six times in the book (Colossians 1:3; 1:12; 2:7; 3:15; 3:17; 4:2). An attitude of gratitude and appreciation will go far in maintaining peace. We should be thankful to God (e.g. Colossians 1:12-14; 1 Timothy 1:12). We should be thankful to others (e.g. Romans 16:3-4). Consider the following words: “Gratitude puts situations into perspective. When we see the good as well as the bad, it becomes more difficult to complain and stay stuck. Gratitude helps us realize what we have. This can lessen our need for wanting more all the time. Gratitude strengthen relationships, improves health, reduces stress, and in general makes us happier… When Mark Twain said ‘I can live two months on a good compliment,’ he only told half the story. While the person who receives the praise enjoys feeling noticed and valued (and is motivated to do more of the same), the giver can bask in the connection. With every compliment given, a bond is strengthened, trust is built and conversation encouraged. Potent stuff!” (unstuck.com). “And we urge you, brethren, to recognize those who labor among you, and are over you in the Lord and admonish you, and to esteem them very highly in love for their work’s sake. Be at peace among yourselves” (1 Thessalonians 5:12-13).