Do you long for the beauty of community dwelling in peace? Sick of divisiveness? Many are. What’s the solution? We would do well to take a page or two from the apostle Paul.
They have healed the wound of my people lightly, saying, ‘Peace, peace’ when there is no peace (Jeremiah 6:14).
God desires peace. Jesus is called the Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6). He came to bring peace between man and God, between man and himself, and between man and his fellow man. We are to seek peace and pursue it. But how far should we pursue peace?
As forth-tellers, prophets often had the difficult job of reminding God’s people of the covenant that they had made with God. As fore-tellers, prophets often had the difficult job of warning the people of coming judgment due to their refusal to repent.
The weeping prophet, Jeremiah, was God’s messenger leading up to the Babylonian captivity. Judah’s sins were full, and their punishment was imminent. Jeremiah’s task was to speak God’s word to a nation who was dull of hearing and who would “fight against” him (Jeremiah 1:19). This task was a great burden to Jeremiah. He wished for deliverance, he tried to shut God’s words up within him and not speak (Jeremiah 20:8-9). But God was true to his promises to Jeremiah, he was with Jeremiah every step of the way (Jeremiah 1:19; 20:11). Continue reading “When there is no peace”
Why do Christians at times struggle with each other? Why does it seem we sometimes have more patience and understanding with those outside of Christ rather than with our brothers and sisters in Christ? Could it be that we have our focus on the wrong person?
“What is the source of wars and fights among you? Don’t they come from your passions that wage war within you? You desire and do not have. You murder and covet and cannot obtain. You fight and wage war. You do not have because you do not ask. You ask and don’t receive because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures.” (James 4:1-3 CSB)
Why do we fight with other Christians? James identified the problem for us: it is because we are focused on ourselves. We cannot have peace with others if we are self-centred. Continue reading “Humility is the way to peace”
“Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword” (Mt. 10:34).
Almost any picture we paint of Jesus is lacking. It is especially true of the canvas, but also of the heart. Jesus is complex – infinitely so. When we think we have captured him, some other piece of him floats by and we must pour out all the other pieces and try to put them back together again. Haygood put it this way: Continue reading “Flipping the coin”
Peace is not produced by passivity. Harmony is not a settled state. Man tends toward discord. A close reading of Genesis 3 will reveal that sin caused disharmony between man and his Creator, disharmony between man and creation, and disharmony between man and man. We live in a world where sin is the settled state. Where sin is, there is disunity, discord, and disharmony. Peace must be something we work toward, something we pursue.
The blood of Christ has the power to heal the divide between God and man (Colossians 1:20). But man must be willing to pursue that peace (see 2 Corinthians 5:20). Jesus said, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me” (Luke 9:23). Denying self and following after Christ are basic prerequisites to reconciliation with God. Peace with God through salvation does not simply come to us, we must come to God in faith. Once we have been unified with God, we must continue to live by faith to maintain that fellowship with the Divine (1 John 1:3-7). Continue reading “Pursuing peace”
Men have thought it possible to have what one politician called “peace in our time.” Many worked in vain to bring together two warring parties. But there is no end to human wars. One ends, only for another to begin. Since the Fall, conflict has always been a part of mankind, on every level — among nations, political parties, social groups, and families.
Conflict reveals the basic problem of sin and separation from God. It all started from our desire to be independent from God. From there, man has struggled against dependence upon anyone. The more useless the struggle reveals itself to be, the more strident and violent man becomes.
Then God stepped in. He sent his Son into the middle of the war. By engaging the enemy, he won the critical battle. Often, he had to confront even those he came to save. But he could not be deterred. He rescued and restored and reconciled all who desired to give up the farcical struggle for freedom. Continue reading “What is peace with God?”
Peace is what most in the world are longing for. Yet peace seems to be elusive. Perhaps people are not only looking in the wrong place to find peace, but also are going about it in the wrong way. Peace is often viewed as a product of compromise. Yet a peace based on compromise is only peaceful as long as all are happy with the compromise! There must be a better way.
Paul wrote about peace as he drew his letter to the Christians in Philippi to a close. There were Christians in Philippi who were not at peace with each other. And there is a way to find peace in all aspects of our lives. Continue reading “Peace that exceeds all understanding”
And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself (John 12:32 ESV).
God desires to draw us to himself. As a host invites guests to a party (Luke 14:16-24), and as a shepherd leads his sheep (John 10:1-4), God invites us to join him in the kingdom and to follow Jesus through a life of personal growth and Divine glory.
We may be inexorably drawn to that which is beautiful, to that which is unique, to that which is lovely. While Jesus is all of that and more, God desires to draw us to the crucified Jesus. The drawing power Jesus refers to is his death upon the cross (John 12:33).
A blinded and humbled man fell before the voice of the Author of life. The soul-piercing question echoes through the ages, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?” (Acts 9:4). Saul’s persecutions had begun with the violent stoning of Stephen, and resulted in the scattering of Christians (Acts 8:1-3).
Saul wasn’t satisfied with mere intimidation, he ravaged the church. Later, he would reveal that it was his intent to destroy the church of God through violence (Galatians 1:13). Not content with dispersing believers, in his raging fury, he persecuted Christians to foreign cities (Acts 26:11). It is here, on the road to Damascus, that his pursuit of violence led to a pursuit of peace. Continue reading “The Christian’s pursuit”
Words and meanings are important. Dictionaries and texts to teach language exist for this purpose. Socrates supposedly said, “The beginning of wisdom is the definition of terms.” Every speaker, even politicians, learn that effective communication means one must understand words.
What is the definition of peace? Continue reading “What is peace?”