On the night that Jesus was born, angels appeared to shepherds who were tending to their flocks in an open field. The angels startled them with their appearance and shocked them with the announcement. They said;
“Glory to God in the highest and peace on earth to those with whom He is pleased.” Luke 2:14
Peace is the quintessential characteristic of God. Some view God as a short-tempered, angry ruler who is waiting for us to fail so He can punish them. They interpret the evil in this world as evidence of His unloving nature.
This view of God is completely opposite of who God is.
“For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.” John 3:17
“The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.” Psalm 103:8
“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.” James 1:17
- God is eager to show His love to you.
- God is eager to give you good gifts.
- God is not waiting for you to fail; He’s looking for opportunities to help you succeed.
Peace is a quality the world attempts to reproduce but cannot. By “world” I mean a system of living apart from God’s word.
- Peace is not a lower resting heart rate.
- Peace is not the absence of external conflict.
- The peace that Jesus gives will sustain you when everything in life is chaotic.
The peace of God is a by-product of salvation.
When God created the world and everything in it, there was perfect peace because there was no sin. The lion rested with the lamb. Man and woman lived in harmony with each other and God.
God gave one rule to follow, just one. Not a hard rule or a challenging rule to follow. One simple rule. He said you can eat of any tree in the garden except one.
When Adam and Eve broke this one simple rule, sin entered the world and corrupted everything that God created. This nature produces unrest in which some try to silence through legal and illegal drug use, with a one-night stand or pornography, while some turn to a religion of works to undo what has been done.
But none of these efforts will work.
“Peace is not the absence of tension, but the presence of justice.” Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Jesus came to earth to pay the price for our sins so that we can stand justified before God. Jesus didn’t come to make world peace but give us internal peace. As a result, we are to be peacemakers and pursuers of peace.
“If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.” Romans 12:18
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.” Matthew 5:9
“And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful.” Colossians 3:15
Peace is more important than winning an argument. There is no fight worth winning at the expense of peace.
4 Rejoice in the Lord always; again, I will say, rejoice. 5 Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; 6 do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:4-7
The word “guard” in the Greek denotes a military presence. The imagery is of a fortified effort to secure something. God is unmatched in His strength to protect your heart and mind.
From Philippians 4 we can glean four ways to maintain peace in every situation.
#1 Rejoice in God. v.4
When life becomes messy, stay focused on God by rejoicing in Him. Praise has the power to push away dark clouds from camping over you. Praise regulates your mindset.
#2 Reasonableness. v.5
Reasonableness is also translated as gentleness. This is an instruction to treat everyone well, not to treat how they deserve to be treated. We are called to treat others better at times than how they may have treated us. God will sort it all out in the end and give to each what they deserve.
#3 Pray v.6
Prayer activates heavens promises and resources. Prayer is less about getting God on board with your will and more about you getting aligned with God’s will.
#4 Thanksgiving v.6
Learning to give thanks in every situation will shut the door to fear, doubt, and worry. Giving thanks is celebrates the giver, God, and not just what you have. Thankfulness is an attitude that calibrates our actions.
Peace came that first Christmas and stays with us through having a relationship with God!