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"We are to let God's shalom be the referee and every time shalom is gone, we must stop the game and get it back before we can do anything else!"

~Joy Starts Here pg 152

I am currently reading a book that my Dad and a few of his friends have written called Joy Starts Here. One of the many things that is jumping out to me as an "aha" moment is based upon a deeper understanding of this verse:

"And let the peace {shalom} of God rule {"brabeuo" to be a referee} in your hearts....." (Col 3:15)

Peace is the first word I think I need to more deeply explain because it's much more than just peace. The Jewish word Shalom, could be described as an "inner peace" in mainstream dictionaries. However, the authors of this book take it much further. Shalom, goes hand in hand with joy. God offers Shalom as a reward almost every time Joy is mentioned. (pg 9)

Shalom is that deep "knowing" within us that everything is going to be okay. Shalom is that quiet response to knowing that God is with us, and that God is glad to be with us. We were created to experience Shalom as our "normal".

Yet so many of us only have moments where we experience shalom.

We can get so caught up in life and circumstances that we go months without noticing that we haven't experienced shalom. Our bodies get stressed out and tensions become a drain on our resources. Sometimes we seek out moments of shalom as an escape from our reality.

But God actually designed us to experience shalom as normal.... His design was for us to always be in shalom. We are supposed to notice when shalom is missing IMMEDIATELY.

Why? So we can do what we need to do to get it back! Sadly, this isn't the case for many of us.

To continue in this verse, I'm drawn to the word Rule.

The word used here in greek is "brabeuo" which means to be a referee. As a football fan, I am intrigued by this understanding of the word. What does a referee do anyway?


The first thing that came to mind was that a referee throws the flag and stops the game when something has gone wrong. This verse seems to be saying that shalom should be our referee.... so doesn't that mean that shalom is the flag thrower, the whistle blower telling us to stop?!!

If Shalom is the referee, what else might it do? Shalom can "call a touchdown" and point out things for us to be thankful for! Shalom can walk out ahead of us, show us what to look for, stay with us in the middle of a massive pileup, intervene when our temples flare, run along with us at full speed towards our favorite destination!

Allowing Shalom to be our referee, as instructed in scripture, means we don't "play the game of life" without it.

It's so important for us to get back to how we were designed. I want to encourage you, and myself as well, to start checking if your referee is on the field throughout the day. Remember, shalom comes from knowing that God is with us and glad to be with us. The more you check in with Him, the more you'll get shalom!

Change your opinion about the referee..... shalom is the perfect referee, and won't make bad calls! :) We need the referee, we need to notice when the referee is gone... because when that happens, we can get hurt. We might end up hitting too hard, playing dirty, losing our sportsmanship, getting into fights, running to long and too hard, & forgetting to take timeouts and water breaks.

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