The next week after he taught 1 Timothy 2:1 to his church, John Chrysostom picked up in verse 2 of the same chapter (he taught verse by verse), and read:
“That we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior; who willeth that all men should be saved, and come unto the knowledge of the truth.”
And then he said this:
If in order to put an end to public wars, and tumults, and battles, [Timothy] is exhorted to offer prayers for kings and governors, much more ought private individuals to do it. For there are three very grievous kinds of war.
The one is public, when our soldiers are attacked by foreign armies.
The second is, when even in time of peace, we are at war with one another.
The third is, when the individual is at war with himself, which is the worst of all.
For foreign war will not be able to hurt us greatly. What…though it slaughters and cuts us off? It injures not the soul. Neither will the second have power to harm us against our will; for though others be at war with us, we may be peaceable ourselves. For so says the Prophet, “For my love they are my adversaries, but I give myself unto prayer” (Ps 90:4); and again, “I was at peace with them that hate peace”; and, “I am for peace; but when I speak, they are for war.” (Ps 120:6-7)
But from the third, we cannot escape without danger. For when the body is at variance with the soul, and raises up evil desires, and arms against it sensual pleasures, or the bad passions of anger, and envy; we cannot attain the promised blessings, till this war is brought to an end; whoever does not still this tumult, must fall pierced by wounds that will bring that death that is in hell.
We have daily need therefore of care and great anxiety, that this war may not be stirred up within us, or that, if stirred up, it may not last, but be quelled and laid asleep.
For what advantage is it, that the world enjoys profound peace, if you are at war with yourself?
This then is the peace we should keep. If we have it, nothing from without will be able to harm us.
Sound words, from 1600 years ago, for Wednesday, November 11, 2020.