What can interrupt our pursuit of peace? Paul mentions one thing when he says: “The minding of the flesh means death, but the minding of the spirit means life and peace; because the minding of the flesh means enmity with God.” (Romans 8:6, 7) By “flesh,” Paul refers to our fallen condition as imperfect humans with inherited sinful tendencies. Giving in to the inclinations of the fallen flesh will destroy our peace. If a Christian unrepentantly commits immorality, lies, steals, takes drugs, or in some other way breaks the divine law, he disrupts the peace with Jehovah that he once enjoyed. (Proverbs 15:8, 29; 1 Corinthians 6:9, 10; Revelation 21:8) Moreover, if he allows material things to become more important to him than spiritual things, his peace with God is gravely threatened.—Matthew 6:24; 1 John 2:15-17.
On the other hand, Paul said: “The minding of the spirit means life and peace.” Peace is part of the fruitage of the spirit, and if we train our heart to appreciate spiritual things, praying for God’s spirit to help us in this, then we will avoid “the minding of the flesh.” (Galatians 5:22-24) At 1 Peter 3:10-12, peace is linked with righteousness. (Romans 5:1) Peter says that the pursuing of peace includes ‘turning away from what is bad and doing what is good.’ God’s spirit can help us to “pursue righteousness” and thus preserve our peace with God.—1 Timothy 6:11, 12.
The pursuit of peace is of major concern to the elders in the congregation. For example, if someone tries to introduce polluting practices, the elders are responsible to protect the congregation by trying to reprove the sinner. If he accepts the reproof, he will regain his peace. (Hebrews 12:11) If not, he may have to be cast out so that the peaceful relationship of the congregation with Jehovah may be preserved.—1 Corinthians 5:1-5.