Peace: It’s Who You Know

peace 2What do you think of when you think of peace? Miss USA saying they want world peace? Perhaps the absence of conflict?

Google defines “peace” as:

  • Freedom from disturbance; quiet and tranquility.
  • Freedom from or the cessation of war or violence.

Both definitions are ‘from’ something. We want “peace and quiet”; we want calmness…. Yet if we look at the Greek word for peace – εἰρήνη (pronounced: ā-rā’-nā ) – we finds a different meaning:

  • a state of national tranquillity
  • peace between individuals, i.e. harmony, concord
  • security, safety, prosperity, felicity,

The Hebrew word for peace, שָׁלוֹם or shalom, carries with it the same focus as the Greek word:

  • completeness, soundness, welfare, peace
  • completeness (in number)
  • safety, soundness (in body)
  • welfare, health, prosperity
  • quiet, tranquillity, contentment
  • friendship

Peace, in other words, is not just the absence of conflict, but a state of being. There is tranquility and contentment in life; a sense that all is well.

Prince of Peace

Peace, as defined by the Bible, goes even deeper than just living. One of the names for God in the OT is “Yahweh Shalom” or God of Peace (Judges 6:24). This name was also given to Jesus:

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.  (Isaiah 9:6)

Peace, therefore, is less of an absence  of something (noise, problems, troubles, etc.) and more of ‘who you know’” You [God] will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you. Trust in the LORD forever, for the LORD, the LORD, is the Rock eternal. (Isaiah 26:3-4)

Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times and in every way. The Lord be with all of you. (2 Thessalonians 3:16)

 May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Thessalonians 5:23)

Cuddling Up

One of the cool things about being a father is having my son come up and try to cuddle. He could have had a rough day full of disappointments (as only a 4-year old can have!). But the moment he craws into my lap or I pick him up and hold him, there is peace. All is right with the world, Dad is there.

That is the way it is with us and our Father in Heaven:

The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” (Romans 8:15)

We can crawl into God’s lap and have that peace – the wholeness that comes with being with the One who Made Everything. We have security and safety in His arms. This is why St. Paul, a man who was beaten, whipped, shipwrecked and ran out of more towns then you and I – a man who in the process of being sentenced to death in Rome – could say:

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, 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. (Philippians 4:4-7)

God’s peace is not depending on our situation; it is only depended on Him. This is why a young teenage girl named Mary could withstand the looks, words and problems that came with becoming pregnant out of wedlock. Everyone thought she had broken her vows to Joseph, her fiancé. Even Joseph thought she had slept with someone else. But Mary knew she was pregnant not by human will, but by the Spirit of God.

God Himself choose her as a friend and servant to give birth to Jesus the Messiah. And the only way Mary was able to keep going was become of the peace that comes through knowing the One True Lord. The same is true for us. The only way that we are going to be able to live this life is through knowing the One True Lord, the Prince of Peace, the Lord of Peace,  Yahweh Shalom

Salvation of Peace

As we remember the First Advent (or Arrival) of our Lord and Savior Jesus, we must remember that it was an invasion into this Present Evil Age. Jesus came that we might have life and salvation for our souls and life. He came that day long ago in Bethlehem to destroy the works of the evil one.

To have His peace, we must bow our knees in submission to Him, giving Him complete control over our lives. We have to repent of our evil ways and desires and ask for His forgiveness – saying that we are ready to stop trying to gain peace on our own. We must say that we are ready to start living with Him as His friends and children

Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.

Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. Because of these, the wrath of God is coming. You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. Here there is no Gentile or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all.

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.  (Colossians 3:1-17)

Advent Prayer

God of the watching ones, give us Your benediction.

God of the waiting ones, give us your good word for our souls

God of the watching ones the slow and the suffering ones, give us Your benediction,

Your good word for our souls that we might rest.

God of the watching ones, the waiting ones, the slow and the suffering ones, 

and the angels in heaven, and the child in the womb, give us your benediction,

your good word for our souls, that we might rest and rise in the kindness of your company.