October 15

Thinking About Peace

“Come, O children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the LORD…Turn away from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it.” (Psalms 34:11-14)

“When a man’s ways please the Lord, he makes even his enemies to be at peace with him.” (Proverbs 16:7)

“You cannot find peace by avoiding life.” (Virginia Woolf) “Worrying does not take away tomorrow’s troubles; it takes away today’s peace.” (Unknown) * These two quotations grabbed my attention because they seem to be opposite ways to deal with worry. The first implies that we must confront life head-on to find peace, but the second quote rebukes us for worrying (about life). The truth is that it takes work to have peace in this life, in this world. Today I am making a transition from focusing on work to thinking about peace, especially peace with ourselves and with others. It a bit difficult to differentiate between contentment, which I have already covered in detail, and peace. For my purposes here, peace is objective tranquility or harmony while contentment may exist even where harmony is not present. For example, I may be content with our political system in spite of the acrimonious relationships between politicians and their supporter—which cannot possibly be described as peaceful.

Our two passages today directly relate peace to the fear of God and our obedience to him. So, contrary to popular thought, peace is not merely the absence of evil; it is not a black void. While many religions seek peace through the works of people, Christianity’s teaching that only God can give us peace has proved itself over the entire course of history. After all, if people can create peace on their own, why have they never succeeded for any significant period? Although the Bible specifically instructs us to pursue peace, we can only do so if we first have peace with God. Wisdom dictates that Christians, having received reconciliation of God, with God, through Christ have peace with each other, as imitators of God. “So then let us pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding.” (Romans 14:19)

The best way to pursue peace is to do what is pleasing to God. Easy to say, harder to do. In what area of your life would you like greater peace? So what changes should you consider, or what prayers are needed for your ways to please God, resulting in more peace?

* These two quote can be found on http://wisdomquotes.com/peace-quotes/

 

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