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By Melissa McLaughlin

I invite you to pause for just a moment and allow these words of Jesus to wash over you:

“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.”  John 14:27

According to Merriam-Webster Dictionary, the word “peace” has several shades of meaning:

1:a state of tranquility or quiet: such as 1.freedom from civil disturbance 2.a state of security or order within a community provided for by law or custom

2:freedom from disquieting or oppressive thoughts or emotions

3:harmony in personal relations

4a: a state or period of mutual concord between governments  b: a pact or agreement to end hostilities between those who have been at war or in a state of enmity

Each of these examples of peace evoke a sense of quiet tranquility.  Still, we recognize that God alone is the true source of all peace.  Therefore, any worldly efforts at peace will only be a passing shadow of the lasting peace God intended for us.

From the start, humankind has shirked the peace offered by God.  We know from the Biblical account in Genesis 3, Adam and Eve, the very first man and woman, disobeyed God in the Garden of Eden and from that time on, all humans carry the seed of that sinful and disobedient nature within our hearts.

Gratefully, the mercy and grace of God prevailed, as He sent His one and only Son to pay the penalty for our sin and rebellion against His commands.

Through the immeasurable and painful sacrifice of Jesus, God reconciled us to Himself and peace WITH God is possible again as it was in the very beginning.  Truly we cannot experience of the peace OF God, until we find peace WITH God by confessing and believing in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord.

This is the peace of Christ!  This is the peace of Christmas!   For those who accept and believe, Jesus has made us right again with God.  This precious gift of right-standing before God is a peace that is wider, longer and more deeply satisfying than anything earth can supply.  Further, unlike worldly pleasures, this peace can never be taken from us.  Read more about this in my post titled, “Peace on Earth!  But What Kind of Peace Did Jesus Bring?”

However, to remain in one accord with God, we must also maintain a humble heart before God.  How is this possible?  James 5:16 states, Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.

As we daily acknowledge our sins and receive His forgiveness, there is a spiritual healing which allows us to nurture our intimate closeness and peace with the Lord as we yield any rebellion against Him that could hinder our prayers and connection.

In Colossians 3:1-17, we read these truths about the peace of Christ:

If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is 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 what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. On account of these the wrath of God is coming.  In these you too once walked, when you were living in them. But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth.Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices 10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator. 11 Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all, and in all.

12 Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, 13 bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. 14 And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. 15 And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. 17 And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

According to this passage of scripture cultivating our life in Christ includes several crucial points.

  1. Focus your mind, energy and time not on this world, but on heaven, where your life is hidden in Christ with God.
  2. Cut off, surrender, or “kill” any sinful choices that go against God’s righteous commands.  We will never find true inner peace when we are out of alignment with God’s perfect plan.
  3. Seek to be renewed in the image of God, our Creator, who calls us to be holy, compassionate, kind, humble, meek, patient, forgiving and loving.
  4. Invite the peace of Christ to rule in your heart.
  5. Give thanks to God.

Most of these points are fairly straightforward.  However, one idea deserves more careful consideration.

How do we let the peace of Christ RULE, as written in verse 15? 

Many times people want peace, but they don’t really want the Prince of Peace.

Many times people want justice, but they don’t really want the King of Justice.

2 Timothy 3:5 describes this tendency as “having a form of godliness but denying its power.”

To desire the Prince of Peace requires us to then step down from our selfish, prideful and self-made royal position where we have appointed ourselves ruler on the throne of our own hearts.  Instead of crowning ourselves king or queen, we must allow Christ to rule and reign in our lives.

As we continue reading in verse 16, this matter of allowing Christ to rule is made clear.  When we read the Bible, the word of Christ dwells in us richly, for God’s Word is inspired and can reveal the truth of who God is and who we are before Him.  His thoughts become bigger than ours.  His ways become more cherished than ours.  In addition, we teach and gently but earnestly correct one another.  Lastly, we join in songs of praise with grateful hearts.

When Christ rules in our hearts, then and only then can we enjoy…

peace WITH God and

the peace OF God. 

No earthly treasures, relationships, experiences or accomplishments could ever replace the abiding peace that anchors our souls when we rest in the peace of God through Christ.

Enjoy the peace of Christ anew today with these simple steps from Colossians 3:16:

  1. Read the Bible and invite the Holy Spirit to grow deep roots of His truth within you.
  2. Seek to be taught and corrected by God’s Word and other mature Bible-believing Christians.
  3. Lift up the name of Christ through joyful songs of worship.
  4. Thank God for every good and perfect gift.

Let us remember that peace with God does not come through our perfection, but through Christ’s perfection.  That thought alone allows a great peace to settle over our souls like a heavenly blanket of pure sweet snowy-white grace.  A Christmas gift to treasure every day.  As we continue to walk in the peace that Jesus won for us, let us enjoy His Presence as we draw near through heartfelt Bible reading, vulnerable prayer and jubilant song.  Finally, let us respond to His generous gift of eternal peace with a heart of eternal gratitude.

The Lord bless you and keep you;
the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you;
the Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.  Numbers 6:24-26

 

Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com.

Additional Resources:

Peace and Contentment By God’s Glory

The Reassurance of a Heavenly Perspective By Dr. Tony Evans

How Can I Have God’s Peace By Charles Stanley

You Cannot Have the Peace of God Unless You Have Peace With God By Greg Laurie

How to Let the Peace of Christ Rule Your Heart By Lesli White of Beliefnet.com

Peace By Biblestudytools.com