During the days leading up to Christmas, we sing, “Peace on earth.” We read Isaiah 9:6 to celebrate Jesus’ arrival as the “Prince of Peace.” What exactly is this mysterious substance we call peace? For most, it is perceived as the somewhat unattainable goal of every nation living in harmony, absent of the desire to devastate another people group through the use of power led by the depravity of man.
Colossians 3:15 says, “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.” For most, peace is often the most lacking heart quality, given the swirl of social, political, relational, physical and emotional turmoil that befalls us. Our automatic responses to the heartbreaking human condition include complaining, fearfulness, self-protection and judging others. How is it even fathomable to live in complete peace (let alone joy)?
The answer lies in where we live. Where do you run for cover when bombarded with the stuff of life? Because we are in Christ, He is our fortress. He encourages us to return to Him where He holds us in His “prison of hope” until the storms die down (Zechariah 9:12). Simply put, the LORD, and no other source, must be our present help and protection during our inevitable times of trouble (Psalm 46:1). When we hide ourselves in Him–our prison of hope—He promises a double portion of restoration. By holding
steadfast to our Fortress, hope rises up to meet its welcome companions, peace and joy. Thanksgiving must be our outward response to the abundant knowing that God constrains us in His “prison of hope” until our hearts have allowed His peace to settle all matters.
Not only must we cultivate peace in our own hearts, but God says in Romans 12:18, “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” Being at peace with family members, co-workers, friends, neighbors, and the annoying customer ahead of us in the check-out line is yet another matter. How often we point to the scoreboard of judgement over another individual because of the offense, pain, or wrong they caused us. How often do we miss the blessing of a relationship because we are unwilling to see the offender through Jesus’ eyes of mercy, much less extend compassion and forgiveness? We make our personal contribution to world peace by sowing the seeds of peace into our God-given spheres of influence.
Peace is the currency of the Kingdom. Jesus commissioned us to release His peace into any storm, but we can’t give away what we don’t own. Once the eyes of our hearts see human circumstances through God’s perspective, we gain a confidence that He has and is the answer to every problem. From our safe place hidden in Him, we can begin to release His peace. As we release peace over the past, we release freedom from those matters that have hurt, offended, or shamed us. As we release peace over today, we experience joy in the absence of strife. Over time, we amass a beautiful collection of joyful yesterdays that replace a legacy of pain. And as we release His peace over our worries about the future, we discover an array of hopeful tomorrows.
By releasing the power of peace that passes all understanding through ourselves and into others, may the watching world recognize the manifestation of the heavenly Kingdom peace with God, with ourselves, and with one another on every level!
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit (Romans 15:13)!
To whom will you gift the gift of God’s peace this season?