Luke 2:14 (NIV)
14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”
Peace. How we long for it in our hearts and souls. We want it in all our relationships and in our world. Yet peace, even for Christians, can be an elusive thing. God truly wants us to be at peace, but we live in a broken, confused world. Even in this environment, we can come to a place of rest from our anxiety. It is possible only through Christ.
In the Old Testament, the Hebrew term shalom was used often as a greeting. The word spoke of a spirit of tranquility and freedom from both inward and outward disturbance. It expressed a wish for peace, which was as evasive then as it is now. There was another kind of peace that was and is needed as well- a peace between God and man. Isaiah foretold that this peace would happen with the coming of the messiah (Isaiah 9:6), the One who would give His life so we might have “peace with God through out Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 5:1).
When we receive Christ as our savior, that shalom enters our lives as well. This event is known as salvation. But maturing in His peace, known as sanctification, requires some effort on our parts.
How do we do this? Here are some ways we can do this:
Be filled with the Spirit (Gal. 5:22; Eph. 5:18)
Abide in the Lord (John 14:27; 15:4)
Seek Him in prayer (Phil. 4:6-8)
Learn to trust (Isaiah 26:3)
Turn away from evil
Do good (Psalms 34:14)
The peace of Christ is found through making Him more important than any thing or anyone else in our lives. We can’t afford to let ourselves focus on eliminating conflict between the world and us. As the Bible says, choosing to follow Jesus will most likely cause us to be at odds with other people at some point in our lives, even the people we love. We see this very clearly in the book of John.
John 15:18-25 (NIV)
18 “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first.19 If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.20 Remember what I told you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also.21 They will treat you this way because of my name, for they do not know the one who sent me. 22 If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not be guilty of sin; but now they have no excuse for their sin. 23 Whoever hates me hates my Father as well. 24 If I had not done among them the works no one else did, they would not be guilty of sin. As it is, they have seen, and yet they have hated both me and my Father.25 But this is to fulfill what is written in their Law: ‘They hated me without reason.’
But the promise of God is that our future with Him will be free of strife, both in our hearts and in the world when Jesus comes back to reign over His kingdom. On that day, we will beat our swords and evil will end it’s time on earth and only true and eternal peace among men will remain. What a glorious day that will be.