Peace be with you
Day 1: Jesus is Peace
In Isaiah 9:6 when Isaiah foretold of the coming Messiah, he referred to him as the “Prince of Peace.” When the prophet Micah foretold that the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem, he said of the coming Savior, “and he will be our peace” (Micah 5:5). It’s overwhelmingly telling how often Jesus is connected to the bringing and presence of peace, in the world and in our lives.
When you think of Jesus, do you think of peace? Is peace how you would describe him and his ministry on earth, much less his work in our lives? Or do you think only of truth, justice, and judgment, which certainly all have their place in Jesus’ ministry and work? But even those things are present to bring about the peace that ultimately only Jesus can bring.
The Spirit of Jesus is not a skillfully-crafted set of theological arguments meant to prove him (and you) right and the rest of the world wrong. Jesus’ way is not about picking fights with those with whom he disagrees, but rather loving them and bringing them to himself. The intention of Jesus is not the annihilation of his enemies, but rather, the transformation of their hearts.
If your version or idea of Jesus is not saturated in peace, then you’ve got the wrong Jesus. Why does this matter so much? It affects how we see the world; how we live, pray, and worship; and how we interact with the combative culture around us.
Take a moment to ask the Prince of Peace to fill your mind and life with his peace, to choose his way which leads to peace, to respond to conflict with pursuit of his peace, and to show the world around you who he truly is.
Jesus is peace.
Day 2: Make Every Effort
The writer of the New Testament letter of Hebrews (12:14) urges followers of Jesus to “make every effort to live in peace with everyone.” Yes, you read that right: “every effort.” And yes, everyone, which leaves out no one, not even “them.”
Are you thinking of someone right now that you need to “make every effort” with? And are you already convincing yourself that you’ve already done enough to be in a harmonious relationship with that person? Yep, thought so. Chances are, there is more you can do, more you can say, and certainly more you can pray on their behalf.
Why is God so concerned with us pursuing peace with each other? And with everyone? That seems like a bit much, right? After all, when you consider what they are like, how hard they are to love, what they’ve done, etc... surely God would understand if we just chalked that relationship up to “Oh well, I tried,” and then move on.
Here’s a fact and then a question that should help us keep making every effort with each other:
Fact: God takes our relationships with each other personally. We cannot be “right” with him when we won’t pursue getting it right with each other. So… let’s keep making every effort.
Question: Aren’t you glad Jesus keeps making every effort with you? How many times have you taken advantage of his grace and forgiveness? Thought so… Yet Jesus keeps on coming.
So now you know what to do…
Make every effort.
Day 3: Trust = Peace
Paul writes to the first century Christians in Romans 15:13 a truth and a promise that was not just for them, but also for us today: “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him…” Did you catch what Paul said about peace? We are filled with peace to the degree that we place our trust in God. The more we choose to trust, the more peace we experience.
This is great news. This means that we are active participants in the peace we experience. Peace is not merely circumstantial or tied to just what happens to us and how we feel about it. Peace is something we can choose to allow more of in our minds and lives, just by choosing to trust God with and in whatever situation that is robbing us of peace.
There is a line from the old hymn “What a Friend” that goes, “Oh, what peace we often forfeit; oh what needless pain we bear; all because we do not carry everything to God in prayer.” Where are you forfeiting peace because of your lack of trust?
No doubt, you want to trust God more. No doubt, you’ve tried. Remember that it’s a learning process, not a box to check or a quick fix. And it’s not a formula. It’s a journey of trust. Sometimes we trust well; other times it’s a struggle. But the more we learn to rely on him in the areas of life that challenge our peace, the more we are capable of experiencing the peace that only he can bring.
So where today do you need peace? That’s where you must increase your trust and reliance on your Heavenly Father. And as you do, the promise from Philippians 4:6 will be yours: “The peace of God that passes all understanding will guard your heart and mind.”
Trust = Peace