Peace On Earth
During this Christmas season, one will often see signs and banners declaring the words of Luke 2:14: “Peace on Earth, goodwill towards men.” This was the angel’s proclamation to the lowly shepherds as they were tending their flocks by night. They announced the birth of Jesus with this declaration.
However, many don’t find much peace during this Christmas season, or any Christmas season for that matter. Many find this time of year to be stressful, depressing and bleak for various reasons. I, for one, am not fond of this time of year anymore and have not been for a long time.
One of the main reasons I feel this way is because of the great commercialism that has been brought on by the consumerism of this nation. It’s been said that we celebrate Thanksgiving by giving thanks for the things we are grateful for only to go out shopping on Black Friday and fight someone over something just to save a few dollars. That doesn’t sound like peace to me.
It’s hard at times to maintain our peace when there is such political divisiveness running rampant in our country. It’s hard to maintain peace knowing there is still a war going on in Afghanistan. It’s hard to maintain peace with all the threats of radical Islam that is beginning to crop up in our country. Not to mention the everyday life issues we face such as job security, strained relationships, and failing health.
And last, but certainly not least, it’s hard to maintain your peace when you can’t find a good parking spot at Walmart because of all the other holiday shoppers. That’s enough to make one lose their revival!
The Christmas season is supposed to be about peace on earth, goodwill towards men.
Many times, it’s a stressful time of year that causes us to lose sight of the real reason for Christmas – the gift of Jesus, who is the Prince of Peace.
So how do we maintain peace during this season of Peace on Earth, goodwill to men? How do we remain peaceful throughout the whole year? Let me give you three things to consider.
Remember that God is the God of Peace!
True peace only comes from the God of peace! Therefore, we must always look to him as our source of peace. The angels declared the intentions of God towards mankind on that first Christmas. His intention is for men to be at peace.
Notice that the angels didn’t sound like a lot of modern-day preachers. Their message wasn’t “You better repent because Jesus is here now to set you straight,” or “You better turn your life to Jesus or else you will burn in hell forever,” or “God is going to finally send down his judgment for all the wrong that’s been done.” Notice the message was one of peace and goodwill.
Five times in the New Testament God is called the God of peace. I don’t know of one scripture that declares him to be the God of wrath. Now I know that it talks about God’s wrath, but it never calls him the God of wrath, but it does call him the God of peace.
As a matter of fact, his kingdom is comprised of righteousness, joy, and peace (Rom. 14:17).
Paul prayed over the Thessalonians, “Now may the Lord of peace Himself continually grant you peace in every circumstance. The Lord be with you all! (2 Thess. 3:16)
We must pursue peace.
Peace is not something that will just happen to us. Well, maybe it would if you lived by yourself on a secluded island. But for the rest of us that live amongst the throngs of humanity, we must pursue peace.
Heb. 12:14: “Pursue peace with all men, and the sanctification without which no one will see the Lord.”
The word pursue in the Greek is interesting. It means to run swiftly in order to catch a person or thing (in a hostile manner). I love that last part….in a hostile manner. In other words, I must pursue peace with all men as if I was violently chasing someone. That’s pretty strong, yet that’s what God did for us in Christ. In order to reconcile us to himself, he pursued us by dying for us a very hostile death.
Unfortunately, peace doesn’t always come to us naturally. Sometimes we must die to our desires and the need to be right in order to pursue peace with others. Sometimes, we must eat humble pie and accept blame for something we didn’t do in order to make peace.
It was Jesus who declared, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the sons of God.” (Matt. 5:9). If being a peacemaker makes me a son of God, I hate to admit that there have been a lot of times that I have fallen short.
Let peace rule!
No one can take your peace from you. You must give it up. In order for you to be peaceful then you must let peace rule. You have to refuse to lose your peace no matter what happens to you.
Since God wants you to be at peace, then it logically stands to reason that the enemy of our souls, Satan, doesn’t want you to be peace. But the greatest weapon you have against him is to refuse to lose your peace, no matter what he throws at you. He can’t take it from you, you have to surrender your peace.
Colossians 3:15: “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful.” According to this verse, we must let the peace of Christ rule. It’s our choice, our decision.
Galatians 5:22: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,.” You have the fruit of the Spirit within you, therefore you have the ability to maintain peace at all times.
I know that saying these things is a whole lot easier than living them out, especially when things are coming at you left and right, making you feel that everything is anything but peaceful. However, you can rest in the love and grace of your Heavenly Father knowing that He has everything you need to make it through victoriously. He is our peace!
So, may you in this Christmas season, and throughout the year experience the declaration of the angels: Peace on earth, goodwill to men. Let’s make this personal…..”Peace in my life, goodwill towards me.”