Monday, December 23, 2013
RUN, DON’T WALK, BACK TO PEACE
This weekend I was overwhelmed with the subject of Peace. It came up in my reading, it came up in sermons, it even came up in some of the blogs I read. All of that should not seem unusual since Christmas is the ultimate symbol of Peace. Even in some countries where God is not honored, Christmas is celebrated because it seems to represent a time-out from the usual discord raging in this world; historically, even during some wars a cease-fire was declared for that day.
The major thought that I took out of all this is that the Peace that Christ came to offer is very personal and has little, if anything, to do with World Peace at this time. Rather, it has to do with a personal relationship with Christ which gives us a Peace ... “which passes all understanding…” We have within us, within our reach, a Peace that only the presence of the Holy Spirit within us can bring to us as we rest in Christ.
Jesus, himself, as He was ending His ministry, said, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives…” John 14 27: Then in John 15 He describes the peace of abiding in Him. (I now see John 14:27 as the Christmas story in John. Jesus came to bring us Salvation, but He also came to bring us Peace.)
The Angels sang of “Peace on Earth, good will to men,” or so the Carol proclaims, but looking closer it can be seen that this Peace and this good will is for those who trust in Him.
Peace in this world comes only from abiding in Christ and relying on the Holy Spirit to grow this fruit of Peace in our hearts and lives.
This was the Peace that the Angels sang of as they announced Christ’s birth to the Shepherds. There is no promise of immediate Peace on Earth, for all and everywhere. That is still in the future. This was a promise of Peace for those who would choose to accept Christ for the Savior He is.
As I have been searching for Gentleness, I have discovered the true meaning of Peace; if I am at Peace and filled with Peace, I will be gentle when gentleness is needed; and that goes for all of the other fruit of the Spirit. Peace requires a close walk with God on a daily basis; that includes letting Him use us at will because we have given Him ourselves each day and we have cleaned up our differences with Him in the start of the day.
The problem I struggle with is quite simple: I keep taking back pieces of my life that belong to Him to handle and control. Some examples are these:
Bulldozing – I become frustrated over people who don’t get what I am trying to teach them and I try to hammer it home.
Rudeness – I become proud and unable to stand rudeness, especially if it is aimed at me, but also when I see it aimed at others.
Politics – I allow myself to get way too upset about the conditions in the country today: This is my country, and I have been involved with politics since I was a teenager, but it is not my job to worry it to death and get riled up and angry. I tried to start a political blog, but trying to write it without becoming angry was nearly impossible. Now I have found a man* who speaks my words for me and I follow him and the discussions the come up on his blog and I am satisfied to know that someone has taken on the job of a voice of reason in a tumultuous world. And I can gently join the conversation and keep my cool, without having to give up attention to the subject altogether.
I also watch others gathering up worries and cares and frustrating over them and coming a little unglued about them. If we wonder if any of these things are interfering in our own lives, this is a great time to take inventory: How uptight are we about the shopping and baking and gift buying involved in celebrating Christmas. How worried are we that the family celebration will be just another excuse for infighting and grudge holding tantrums, rather than a true celebration of Christ.
We can’t do much about the others, but we can do much about our own attitude as we come together at Christmas. We can pray that God will graciously take our hearts and make them ready for this season. We can ask God to help us be a light of Peace and gentleness as we gather together. We can ask God to take away our apprehensions over these many things and to bring Peace into our own lives so that our lives may be used to bring Peace to others.
In other words, “Run, don’t walk, back to Peace.” When you realize your anxiety is overwhelming you, ask, seek, knock and this gift will be given to you. Why? Because Jesus says it will. It is His will that you live in Peace. He even sent the Holy Spirit to us in his absence to assist us in finding and living in Peace.
We cannot achieve Peace by sheer will. We must find it through the power of the Holy Spirit within us. We must give way to the Holy Spirit to bring forth His fruit in us. None of it can be seen in us if we insist on achieving it for ourselves.
We have been blessed with the option of Peace. It is there for all who will seek it. But, first, we must seek it, for our submission to Christ is the key to all things in our lives.
May God bless us with Peace in this remembrance of the birth of Christ, and may we be lights for Him in this season of many lights. Hallelujah, Amen
* http://themattwalshblog.com/ or as Matt Walsh or DMLdaily on facebook