Sunday, March 14, 2010
"Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us."
Peace is not simply the absence of war, frustration, hostility, or other negative emotions - it is filling this absence with the love, compassion, and serenity that God models and expects us to exemplify in everything we do (1 Corinthians 7:15; Hebrews 12:14). Our Creator God is described as the "author of peace" (1 Corinthians 14:33) and His holy gospel is defined by peace (Ephesians 6:15). This blessing of peace is something that we should treasure and share with others in order to reflect God's character and glory. It produces great joy and edification when we live peacefully with one another in community (Colossians 3:15-16).
"Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord."
Yet, there are so many situations and experiences where it is easy - and almost natural - to reject living in peace with ourselves and others. If pursuing peace were easy, we would not feel so unsettled and off balance! God promises to remove our human anxieties and stresses when we submit to Him with a humble and thankful attitude, letting His peace guard our hearts and minds (Philippians 4:6-7). Choosing to live a peace-centered and peace-driven life is one that takes intention, dedication, and an ongoing commitment to being a peacemaker in all situations.
"The LORD will bless His people with peace."
How much peace - true, godly peace - do I have in my daily life?
I've begun to ask myself this question fairly regularly to do a "peace check" in my personal life in order to identify how I am embodying the peace that God promises us in the passage in Romans above. How do my thoughts, attitudes, actions, and life habits exemplify peace and share this peace with others? What stresses am I holding on to that are preventing my heart and mind from being at peace? How can I seek to live peacefully today?
While we face persecution, discouragement, suffering, and tribulations in our society today, God's promise of peace is a much greater hope that we can trust in today (Romans 8:18; John 16:33). A future picture of eternal peace is portrayed in the Bible with the fulfillment of the coming Kingdom of God where there will be no more war, death, sorrow, or crying (Isaiah 2:4; Revelation 21:3-4). Only the way of peace will be known forever. What a beautiful thought and purpose to hope in and live for today!
How are you pursuing peace in your life?