Read Isaiah 9:6-7 and John 14:23-27
6For 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. 7Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David's throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this. (NIV)
23 Jesus replied, "If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. 24 He who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me.
25 "All this I have spoken while still with you. 26 But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. 27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. (NIV)
The theme for the fourth Sunday in Advent is peace. I think peace is one of those words we use that we don’t often really think about what it really means. For many, peace is simply the absence of war or conflict. But that does not always mean a peaceful life. We can live in a time of no wars, but be burdened with worries of the future or other things going on in our lives that give us no rest and thus no peace.
Peace in the Bible is a different peace than we normally think of. Peace in Scripture is always connected to our relationship with God. We see in these two well known passages of Scripture that there are two elements to our relationship with God. In Isaiah, we see that the one who will come to save will be King. Isaiah speaks of the coming Christ, but also reminds us that this one who will be call the Prince of Peace will also sit on a throne and rule.
In the John passage, we see the second point of our relationship with Christ. To have peace is connected to obedience. But God will help us in our obedience by teaching us through the Holy Spirit. And when we can find that obedience to God because of our love of God, we find a special peace. Paul would say this peace is one the transcends all things. In Philippians 4:6-7, he writes: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (NIV)
In this passage by Paul, we see that access to this peace is through our prayer life. And our prayer life is simply being in communion with God on a daily basis. It is taking everything to God and leaving nothing untouched by God. This is hard to do because when stuff happens, we want it fixed and we want it fixed immediately. And so, we become consumed by certain aspects of life rather than giving them to God while we preserve through the trial.
God wants to give us a special peace. It is a peace that enables us to endure the storms of life by allowing us to have a clear mind as we deal with the more unpleasant things of this life. It helps us to give of ourselves to other people without thinking we need to get all the time. We can find rest in God because when we take him as king and seek to walk in his ways, he will in the end give us all we need for life. It may not be the life we see others living, but it will be a good life and will follow with an eternal life of joy. Peace comes when we realize that this life is not all there is and that God has promised us an eternal joy.
So what is your idea of peace? Do you live a life of peace and as a peacemaker?
I pray you have a wonderful Christmas.
Blessings and Peace