Reflections on those moments when faith and the nitty-gritty of daily life intersect
Join us this Advent as we take time to read scripture, meditate, pray and welcome Christ in our lives anew. This is the first of four devotions written by a couple in our church. God bless you as you journey through Advent.
The concept of ‘peace’ has often been misrepresented as the absence of war or turmoil. The Hebrew word shalom, however, means wholeness, harmony, quietness of mind, freedom from fear and anxiety. The emphasis is on attitude and character, rather than outward circumstances.
Throughout the Bible the relational dimension of ‘peace’ is emphasized in a threefold way:
Peace with God. In his letter to the Christians in Rome the Apostle Paul writes: “having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (5:1).Peace with God is a gift; Jesus brought this peace and paid the price for it once for all. It is, however, up to us to maintain this peace with God by focusing on our commitment to follow Jesus. This is easier said than done. In our busy lives that focus can be blurred or lost entirely. In this Advent season an honest assessment of our commitment to Jesus may reveal that repentance is called for. If that is the case, there are wonderful promises in the Bible. The prophet Joel said: “Return to the Lord your God, for he is gracious and compassionate, and abounding in love” (2:13); and in the book of James we read: “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you” (4:8). Let us act on these promises!
Peace with others. “If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men” (Rom 12:18). One way to make peace with others is to start with those we encounter most frequently (family, neighbours, colleagues, classmates etc.). Living in close proximity means that different personalities collide and conflicts are inevitable. Having made peace with God, it may be easier to adhere to the words of the Apostle Paul: “even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do” (Col 3:13b). Jesus himself laid the foundation for making peace with others: “By this all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” (Jn 13:35). The Prince of Peace himself challenges us to make this Advent a time of making peace with others.
Peace within. There are literally hundreds of books in the field of DIY popular psychology offering advice how to find peace within. There is, however, no quick fix. The Bible offers a different road to inner peace: “He will keep in perfect peace all those who trust in him, whose thoughts turn often to the Lord” (Isa 26:3). Let us this Advent season turn our thoughts often to the Lord and experience “the peace of God, which transcends all understanding” (Phi 4:7).
Now may the Lord of peace Himself give you peace always in every way. (2 Ths 3:16)
Let us therefore live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Saviour Jesus Christ (Tit 2:12-13).
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