“Peace on earth” is a phrase you see everywhere around Christmas time. For many of us, we have to wonder where that peace is. Whether we're trying to find peace in the chaos of our own lives or trying to wrap our heads around hope for political peace, “peace on earth” sure seems elusive.
A quick glance around will remind us that we live in a far from perfect world. In our own lives, we struggle to find peace with ourselves. We regret past mistakes, struggle with our present weaknesses, and worry about the future. We try to “find ourselves” in different ways and search for our purpose in life through relationships, work, leisure, and travel pursuits.
We seek and long for peace in our relationships with others. Some search for the perfect person to date. In our present relationships, sometimes we avoid conflict and run the other way in fear of doing something we’ll regret. Other times we take for granted those closest to us and experience the not-so-nice daily realities living in close proximity with them. We become frustrated and angry over the mistakes of others.
We struggle with the uncertainty of tomorrow and the turmoil going on in the world around us. World news brings few positive reports, if any. We wonder if “peace on earth” is even a possibility.
Optimists would say that things are better now than they were even several decades ago. But why do we still long for a better world? Even when we long for it, no matter how hard we try, reality seems to get in the way and ground us quickly. Sure we are progressing, but if we as human beings have so much potential to be good, why are we not consistently living up to it? Even with the best of intentions, our human effort to be good and make this world a better place seems to fall short.
So where can we turn for hope of peace? Have you ever considered looking to see what Jesus Christ says as a solution for peace?
He taught people to love each other as they love themselves (not a self-serving kind of love, but a self-respect kind of love). He taught people to love their enemies. Imagine if every single person, group, culture, and country in this world learned to love each other and their enemies; there truly would be world peace.
Not only did He teach people how to be at peace with each other, Jesus Himself served to make peace between people and God — a peace that was broken because of our imperfection, and our rebellion to go our own way and live life apart from God (otherwise known as “sin”). This separates us from God who is holy, perfect, and loving. It also prevents us from having access to the love and power from God that would enable us to truly realize and experience peace.
God revealed Himself to people through the person of Jesus. Jesus came to earth in a peaceful way as a baby in a humble circumstance of a manger and proceeded to live a humble life (imagine being God and putting yourself into the limitations of a human body!)
Jesus came to restore our broken relationship with God so that we could first experience wholeness and peace with ourselves, and then extend it to others around us.
Through a personal relationship with Jesus:
- We find peace with God. He came to live life perfectly and died in our place to pay the consequence for our sin. His death made peace between our sinful nature and God’s holy nature. His coming back to life gives us hope of living in peace with God.
- We find wholeness and peace with ourselves. Our esteem is based on what God thinks of us — something that never changes — instead of on the fluctuating foundations of others’ opinions, fleeting accomplishments, or changing circumstances. Our identity is based on who God has made us to be, not on the things that we do.
- We find wholeness and peace in our relationship with others because we begin to change and see people through God’s eyes. We remember that God first loved us, and we grow in wanting to extend love to others.
- We can bring healing and wholeness to others around us, in the communities, the cities, and the world we live in. We begin to see hope for change in others and the world around us.
Coming into a relationship with Jesus by faith and following Him does not mean a life free of conflict. But He offers a promise of hope of something better to come, and a power to bring some of that better world here and now. He offers a strength to persevere until that time a new world comes.
“Peace on earth and mercy mild, God and sinners reconciled,” is a line in a Christmas carol that gives a picture of Jesus as God’s gift of peace to us. “Shalom” is a Hebrew word that signifies “peace” or “more than well.” Jesus was the perfect example of “shalom” lived out; He demonstrated the kind of peace we all long for. Being the Son of God, Jesus was at complete peace and unity with God (“I and the Father are one,” is a statement He made about Himself). He always treated people with respect, wisdom and love. He brought peace to those around him, and He ultimately wants to bring peace between you and God.
As the ancient meaning of “shalom” as a greeting signifies, “May you live in anticipation of the day when God makes things whole again.”
Take a look at your life. How would you describe it? Contented? Rushed? Exciting? Stressful? Moving forward? Holding back? For many of us it’s all of the above at times. There are things we dream of doing one day, and there are things we wish we could forget. In the Bible, it says that Jesus came to make all things new. What would your life look like if you could start over with a clean slate?
You can receive Christ right now by faith through prayer! (Prayer is talking with God) God knows your heart and is not so concerned with your words as He is with the attitude of your heart. The following is a suggested prayer:
Lord Jesus, I need you. Thank You for dying on the cross for my sins. I open the door of my life and receive You as my Savior and Lord. Thank You for forgiving my sins and giving me eternal life. Take control of the throne of my life. Make me the kind of person You want me to be. Amen.
Does this prayer express the desire of your heart? If it does, pray this prayer right now, and Christ will come into your life, just as He promised. If so, please let us know.