This is the time of year that Christians celebrate the birth of Jesus, The Messiah, who Isaiah calls the Prince of Peace.
Isaiah 9:6 (NKJV)6 For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
It’s ironic that at this time when we are celebrating the arrival of the Prince of Peace that there is no peace. There is deep racial, economic, and social divisions in the United States. There are wars and insurrections, terrorist attacks around the world, in many of our cities there is rampant crime, bickering between politicians, dysfunctional homes, even major friction in the church. So where is this peace that the Prince of Peace was to bring?
What is this Peace that Passes all Understanding?
This peace is not just a psychological state of mind; this peace is spiritual peace…the peace of the God of all Creation. This is the peace of people whose sins are forgiven
Romans 5:1 (NKJV)1 Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,
This peace is the opposite of anxiety. It is the tranquillity that comes when you commit all your cares to God in prayer and don’t worry about them anymore. You are confident that God can and will do what is best for you.
This peace guards you from anxiety, fear, and worry. The term that Paul used in Philippians 4:7 is a military term that means “to keep watch over”. The peace of God watches over everything in your life.
It was during the time of the illness, hospitalization, and transition, to be with the Lord, of my wife of over 40 years, that I personally experienced this peace that I'm led to share with the Bodyof Christ. It is real. I remember that we both had this same peace when our daughter went to be with the Lord. At that time I remember Ruth telling me that she just kept hearing the most peaceful music over and over. Later, Ruth did experience depression, however, from the time of our daughter’s transition through the homegoing service we experienced a peace that neither of us could explain.
That peace allowed me to continue writing blog posts; it enabled me to come home from being with Ruth at the hospital all day, realizing that it was all in God’s hands, and there was nothing I could do about it. That very peace enabled me to post the day with Ruth on Facebook the day she transistioned. Because of that peace I was able to prepare and lead a Sunday morning bible study; with that peace I could witness to the goodness of God to Ruth’s medical team. Ruth went to be with the Lord on a Saturday. The peace of God that passes all understanding gave me the strength to go to church on Sunday and lead praise and worship; in fact that may have been the greatest expression of praise, from me, in praise and worship all year.
I still can’t explain it. What I can tell you though is that you can have that peace too.
When I talk to people, Christians and non-Christians most of them want to be at peace especially during these turbulent times. A lot of us try to find peace and contentment in money, social status, drugs or alcohol, or our physical appearance. None of these things can really bring contentment or peace of mind...real peace.
The Greek word for peace eirēnē, corresponds to the Hebrew word shalom and expresses the idea of peace, well-being, restoration, reconciliation with God. Reconciliation with God happens at salvation and that only happens through the right relationship with the Prince of Peace, Jesus. The peace that comes from being in a right relationship with Jesus is not a peace that depends on everything going well. If that’s the case, when things go bad, that peace quickly goes away. Jesus made this distinction;
John 14:27 (NKJV)27 Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.
Without a relationship with Jesus we are in opposition to God, we are His enemies.
Colossians 1:21-22 (NKJV)21 And you, who once were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now He has reconciled22 in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy, and blameless, and above reproach in His sight--
Romans 5:10 (NKJV)10 For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.
Sin created a barrier between us and God and we can’t destroy that barrier on our own. Without God’s intervention, we would have never found the way of peace with Him. But He provided the perfect solution to our sin problem. He sent His Son, Jesus, the Prince of Peace, to pay for our sins and remove the separation that existed between us and Him. When we trusted Jesus as our Savior, we were reconciled to God and no longer His enemies. In Jesus, the Prince of Peace, we have peace with God.
Here’s what the angel said when he announced the birth of the Prince of Peace to the shepherds;
Luke 2:14 (NKJV)14 "Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!"
It’s easy to be at peace when things are going good, but let things start falling apart then there’s no more peace. We use the formula of Philippians 4:7 prayer + thanksgiving = peace, but we don’t have peace. Here’s what often happens when we’re pray when we’re anxious; our minds keep drifting back to the circumstances that are making us anxious. Before we know it we’re trying to figure things out ourselves. Then we try thanksgiving we start thanking God for a long list of things yet were are still anxious. If we’re honest we doubt, not that God loves us we know that He does, but that He isn’t going to take care of these circumstances.
Let’s take another look at my opening scripture;
Philippians 4:4-7 (NKJV)4 Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!5 Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand.6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God;7 and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
Everything in it is based on faith. Not saving faith because saving faith is constant but on your daily living faith. This kind of faith;
Hebrews 11:1 (NLT)1 Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see.
You can’t really rejoice in the Lord unless you have this kind of faith. You can’t believe that He is with you in whatever you’re going through unless you trust Him and believe His promises.
Deuteronomy 31:6 (NLT)6 So be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid and do not panic before them. For the LORD your God will personally go ahead of you. He will neither fail you nor abandon you.”
If you don’t have faith you will be anxious and if you don’t really believe that God is with you you won’t be sincere in bringing your request to Him.
Hebrews 11:6 (NLT)6 And it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that God exists and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him.
This kind of faith in God is not faith in your belief, it’s not even faith in your understanding of God. This kind of faith, that passes all understanding, is trust in God Himself, to the point that you know that you can risk everything in Him. When you reach that point in your faith you will experience a peace that you can’t explain, it’s beyond your understanding.
Pursue the peace that passes understanding in all you do because there is something greater at stake. In this world where there seems to be no peace and no way to achieve it, we need to be the ones who say that real peace is available only in the Prince of Peace. Make this one of the gifts, in fact the most important gift, you give this Christmas. Your witness.