Are you familiar with John Lennon’s song “Imagine”? In the eyes of the world this is probably the supreme peace song of our generation. Some of the lyrics are… “imagine all the people living life in peace…” How sad and ironic that he should be murdered by a deranged man – gunned down outside his New York apartment 39 years ago this past December 8. True peace seems elusive, even to those who fight hardest and cry loudest for it.
The group, U2, sang a song called “Peace on Earth.” These are some of the lyrics: “Heaven on earth; We need it now. I’m sick of all of this; Hanging around; Sick of sorrow; Sick of the pain; Sick of hearing; Again and again; That there’s gonna be peace on earth.” Basically the gist of the song is, “Get over it, we’re never going to see peace on earth.” And if we watch the news on any night of the week, we might agree.
A lot of people are looking for peace these days. In a world filled with stress, they’re looking for rest. With their days filled with worry, they’re looking for real security, but most of the time they never find it.
So where do we find real peace today?
The first Christmas, angels appeared to some shepherds and declared that peace is available.
“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men” (Luke 2:14).
Peace for everyone on the earth” Where? An Old Testament prophecy tells us where peace is…
“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end.” (Isaiah 9:6-7)
Peace is not found in any place. Peace is not found in any treaty or ban on guns. Peace is found only in a Person, that person is the Lord Jesus Christ. He is the Prince of Peace – literally, the captain or the ruler of peace.
The idea of peace is associated with Christmas time. This makes sense because the Bible says that Jesus came to bring us peace on earth. While Jesus came to bring peace, it often seems that the holidays are a time of conflict and strife. So what does it really mean that Jesus brings peace and how do we experience it in our lives?
The root of all conflict is the same – sin. It is in all of us and it fundamentally breaks us, affecting every relationship we have, first and foremost with God. In fact, it makes us his enemies!
God is perfectly holy, which means that he is completely separate from sin. While he longs to connect with us, our sin makes that impossible. He did something to remove that barrier of sin that stood between us and him. He sent Jesus to sacrifice his life to pay the price for our sin.
“Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ… For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.” (Romans 5:1, 10)
When we put our faith in Jesus, our sin is removed and now we have peace with God. We are no longer his enemies, but now in a loving relationship with him. This is why Christmas is such a celebration – we now have peace with God!
Jesus brings peace within ourselves
Once we have peace with God, we are ready for real peace within. Unfortunately, many Christians do not experience inner peace because they do not understand how to activate it. In John 14:1 we read where Jesus said, “Let not your heart be troubled.” There is an important word in this sentence which can be overlooked. Jesus used the word “let” when referring to the troubled heart. The problem for the believer is that he “lets” his heart be troubled. There must be something we do in ourselves, something totally unnecessary, which causes us to lose our peace.
“Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7)
Here God promises to guard our hearts and minds with His peace if we pray as we should and maintain a proper attitude. Here we are told that we do not just have the peace of God, we have the God of peace! When our minds are fixed on Him, we have the God of peace to keep us in perfect peace! This kind of double peace is beyond understanding. That is exactly what the Bible says. It cannot be explained, but it can be enjoyed.
What is worrying you today? Whatever is causing you anxiety, it is not from God. He does not want the redeemed to live without peace. He told us not to let our heart be troubled. He told us that He was giving us His peace. We must lean our minds, our thinking and our imagination upon Him. He will come to us when we do that and He will give us not only His peace, but His glorious presence.
Jesus brings peace between us and others
Jesus not only brings between God and humanity, but also to human relationships. Since conflict flows out of sin, once sin is forgiven it opens the way for peace between us. Peace in our earthly relationships is the natural result of being at peace with God. Therefore, Christians should actively pursue peace in our relationships with others. We should remember that Jesus said “blessed are the peacemakers.”
“Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous: Not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing: but contrariwise blessing; knowing that ye are thereunto called, that ye should inherit a blessing.” (1 Peter 3:8-9)
Peace isn’t some distant reality that comes through meditation or wishful thinking – it comes through our choice to actively pursue it. The Bible gives us wisdom on how to do that.
“Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye. And above all these things put o charity, which is the bond of perfectness. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful.” (Colossians 3:13-15)
If you want to begin experiencing more peace this Christmas season, as well as the rest of the year as well, start by being at peace with God by putting your faith in Jesus. Then let God change you from the inside out so that you become a person who actively pursues peace.
NO JESUS = NO PEACE
KNOW JESUS = KNOW PEACE