Christmas. Just the word alone brings a soft glow to the soul. Warm crackling fire, hot chocolate and watching Jimmy Stewart as George Bailey yelling “Mary!” as he runs through the old drafty house. Peace.
Isaiah prophesied centuries before Luke penned his gospel saying: “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given, and the government will be on His shoulders. He will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” (Isaiah 9:6) Fast forward to Luke 2:14, when the angels appear to the shepherds: “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.” Peace had come to earth.
Biblical peace (in the Greek) is ‘to set at one again,’ – the picture is something that has once been erected has toppled over. Chaos, strife, irritation, unrest even war are the results. Once it is set back, PEACE is the result; all is in its rightful place. Remember Adam and Eve sinning in the garden? (Thanks, guys!) The original design, ‘God and man’ had been ‘toppled over.’ Gone were the daily walks together in the garden. Jesus came, setting things back in the right place, God and man in right relationship. “The Word became flesh (Jesus) and made His dwelling among us. We have seen His glory, the glory of the One and Only, Who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” John 1:14 (emphasis mine) It may not be the Garden, but God again walking with us. Emmanuel, oh the ‘with us’ of God! Jesus, peace on earth, the Prince of Peace. Peace is a Person.
One of my favorite Christmas carols, “Hark the herald angels sing “Glory to the newborn King! Peace on earth and mercy mild, God and sinners reconciled.” After 400 years, the angels break the silence with the spectacular news. Such theology dripping from this song: Jesus, Peace, God back on earth, setting things right again. God and sinners reconciled.
Peace is not only a Person, but a position. “But now in Christ Jesus, you who once were far away have been brought near through the blood of Christ. For He Himself is our peace …for through Him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit.” (Ephesians 2:13-14) We are now back where we were originally designed to be, right-standing relationship with God, giving full access and able to come into His presence. Paul declares this point, “Since we have been justified through faith we have PEACE with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Romans 5:1) Peace is a God thing. Man cannot create peace in his own soul, it is not part of the package deal, in the sense; it does not come attached to intelligence – fame – wealth. It is the result of Jesus’ presence, Jesus’ Lordship, and Jesus being walked & lived. Peace is position.
Because of our sinful nature and our perpetual continuing to do so, John strongly declares “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9) This is written to the Christian, as we confess, we are saying the same thing about our situation that God does. We are now in full agreement; we realign with what God says. To stop doing something we have to start doing something else. I don’t stop standing until I START walking. In this process, we are taking what was ‘toppled over’ returning to the original design and bringing Jesus back to His rightful peaceful place. We mess up, we get cleaned up. Peace restored. Peace is a process.
The increase of peace accompanies the increase of Christ’s governing power over our lives. Colossians 3:15 “Let the peace of Christ RULE in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.” If I want peace in my heart, I allow Jesus to RULE in my heart. He is King, I bow to Him as King, giving Him the rightful place on the throne of my life. A continually challenge indeed! We will know peace to the degree that we bow to Jesus. It is NOT about peaceful circumstances, it is obedience, His voice over our own, God doesn’t come to take sides, He comes to TAKE OVER. Peace is a posture, a bowed, get OFF the throne, posture. (Head bowed)
This Christmas may we pause and consider wholeheartedly, the Person, position, process, and posture of peace. Yes, Peace had indeed come to earth, Prince of Peace.
In Him, DeDe (“Let us consider how we may spur one another on towards love & good deeds.” – Hebrews 10:24)
The ladies and I at bible study have been treading around in the Fruit of the Spirit, while we splash about, we found ourselves going from knee deep – to take a deep breath here we go! We’ve looked at love, joy and this week … peace.
“Shalom!” You may hear on the streets of Jerusalem, as a greeting or as waving good-bye, the gesture stating ‘Peace unto You” in Hebrew. Meaning, prosperity to you, but not in the sense that we know today, we think prosperity, “WHAOO! I’m rich!” Prosperity is wholeness, soundness, well-being WITH God.
As a quality of God, what is peace and how do we get some! When asked of others, they all answered with pretty much the same theme, “Peace is NOT having strife, turmoil or war.” Which is true, but peace is not just what we no longer have (strife, turmoil), or the absence of something, it is what we possess.
The word Paul uses in Galatians 5:22,23 as peace is ‘eirēnē’ (a-ray-nay) This peace is the recognition and acceptance of the redeeming power and authority of Jesus in my life. In short, (in the Greek) ‘to set at one again.’ Think about the picture it paints. Something that has once been erected has toppled over. Chaos, strife, irritation even war are the results. Once it is set back, PEACE is the result; all is in its rightful place. The gap between us and the Creator of the Universe has now been bridged. Ever feel that IRRITATION – and can’t seem to identify what or why? Consider looking for what, or (may I suggest) ‘Who’ has been toppled over.
Isaiah 9:6-7 The foretelling of Peace. “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on His shoulders. And He will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. 7 Of the increase of His government and peace there will be no end.” (bold emphasis mine)
The increase of peace accompanies the increase of Christ’s governing power over our lives. (read that again) Now consider Colossians 3:15 “Let the peace of Christ RULE in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.” (Again adding emphasis) If I want peace in my heart, do I allow Jesus to RULE in my heart? He is King, yes indeed, but do I bow to Him as … King. Does my life behavior reflect my heart condition (or my words) declaring Him as King? Does He take the rightful place on the throne of my life? Do I place HIM in the very center of my circumstances? Here’s a dandy thought: We will know peace to the degree that we bow to Jesus’ authority.
In practical terms: Let’s say we put our ‘stuff’ in the middle of the room, walk around it dozens of times, call in others have them take a look at it, ask what THEY think, if we don’t like what they advise, we politely dismiss them and invite in others for another tour around our stuff. God’s way: We place it at the feet of Jesus (in the middle of the room – our lives) “What do YOU say Jesus?” And we go with what HE says. It is NOT about peaceful circumstances, it’s about the APPLIED authority of Christ. There will be times we may not have time to put it in the center and consider and pray. Ever hear that voice, you’re in a situation “OH DON’T YOU DO THAT!” Don’t you SAY that!” Do we STOP, and apply His ruling voice over us? If not heeded, you walk away and later you are unsettled? May I offer: Jesus would say, “I will minister My peace where I am in authority.” In the upset of obedience vs disobedience, His voice over our own, God doesn’t come to take sides, He comes to TAKE OVER.
How do we pray for peace? Ask Jesus to SHOW US, where something has toppled over, where we may have kicked Him off His rightful place. Once He shows us, take it and place it in the middle of the room, at His feet. Or move over, get off the throne, stop playing musical chairs and let Him back on the throne of our life. Remember, ‘Peace is like a river…’ (Is 66:12) NOT a pond, stagnant and settled. Unlike the river, that flows from the mountain top, always moving, always refreshing, always pure. “Peace like a river.” Flow Lord!
Peace, allowing Jesus the rightful place, the ruling place of our heart.
In Him, DeDe (“Let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love & good deeds.” – Heb. 10:24)