Saturday, Dec. 10 – Sierra Martin

10 Dec

Week 2: Peace
Today’s Scripture
Psalm 32
Luke 22:39-46

For all the praying and singing about peace that we do, especially this time of year, I don’t suppose I ever really paused to think about what peace means—until now. The word may feel so overused and abused that we’re even tempted to scoff at its mention. “Peace?” we might say. “There is no such thing.”

Let us not forget that peace really has come to earth. But not as the world gives (John 14:27).

At a basic level, peace is the absence of conflict, especially in war. To be at peace is to be not fighting—to lay down your arms, in the archaic sense. On a spiritual level, I guess it works in much the same way. We carry different weapons, of course: gird about with the belt of lies, wearing a breastplate of self-righteousness and wielding the javelin of pride while cowering beneath the shield of doubt. Your weapons may look differently than mine, but I can assure you that, whatever they are, we must give them up. When we surrender ourselves to God’s purposes, then peace comes—because we fully trust Him, finally really resting in His promises of good plans and Holy Spirit, true justice and real relationship (among so many others!) (Jer. 29:11; John 14:16-17; Rom. 2:16; Eph. 3:14-19).

Yes, we can rest there in peace, because we know that He is a good and great Father who has our best interests in mind, and He—only He—can accomplish those purposes (Eph. 3:20). It is just when we don’t believe this, when we “take matters into our own hands,” that we are actually taking up arms against the Prince of Peace…

Peace as absence of conflict—does this always require a laying aside of arms? At risk of sounding too certain, I would say yes—I think that until we are perfected in the image of Christ, we will always be in conflict with something—with our sinful natures, if nothing (or no one) else. Striving for a life of peace will be as difficult as it is oxymoronic. But, to remind ourselves of the promises of last week, there is always hope; for, imperfect as we are, the war against sin and death has already been won! We’re just in the last futile skirmishes; our victory is sure, not because of our skill in battle, but because Emanuel has come, has died, and has risen to life again.

Until our ultimate perfection, then, peace comes through trusting God, that His purposes and intentions are good. How comforting to remember that God, unlike so many other things, does not change (Heb. 13:8), and we can trust His sovereignty and purpose! Even if the worst should come: if the waters rise, they will not sweep over us; if we are thrown into the fire, we will not be burned; if we die, it is gain (Isaiah 43:2; Phil. 1:21). We needn’t fight Him anymore for authority; He invites us to daily lay aside our feeble weapons and, instead, take up a cross in submission and obedience (Luke 9:23)—for there is peace.

-SM

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