"Peace on earth, good will to men." We are hearing these words on the radio and reading them on Christmas cards. We ask, "What can we do to foster peace on earth?" I believe that if every person found their own personal peace with the Lord, we could make a difference in the world. Let us remember one of the names of God—"Jehovah Shalom." Shalom/peace comes when we live in harmony with God. He is the true source of peace. Our Savior, Jesus Christ, is called the Prince of Peace or "Sar Shalom." The prophet Isaiah declared it: "For unto us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on His shoulders. And He will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace." (Isaiah 9:6) And, it tells us in Galations 5:22 that one of the fruits of the Spirit is peace. A relationship with Father, Son, and Holy Spirit is the key to peace. What does that relationship look like for us? I have some thoughts:
1. We must practice the Lord's presence. - This means meditating on Him and fixing our eyes on Him. When we set aside times of solitude and quiet with Him meditation will be enhanced. "Be still, and know that I am God..." (Psalm 46:10) Jesus modeled this for us, and we can read about it in Matthew 14:23. "After He had dismissed them, He went up on a mountainside by Himself to pray. When evening came, He was there alone."
2. Do not worry about tomorrow; instead give thanks. - Philippians 4:6-7 is the Scripture we must look at carefully that is the basis for this conclusion. Verse 6 says, "Do not be anxious about anything; but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God." The result is described in Verse 7. Rick Renner, scholar and author, wrote this verse the way it would read if we interpreted it in the Greek that Paul used. "And the peace of God—a peace so wonderful that it cannot be compared to any other type of peace; a peace that stands in a category by itself and rises far above and goes beyond anything the human mind could ever think, reason, imagine or produce by itself—will stand at the entrance of your heart and mind, working like a guard to control, monitor, and screen everything that tries to access your mind, heart and emotions." Bill Johnson makes an insightful comment about these verses: "In order to have the peace that passes understanding, we must be willing to give up our understanding." It means total surrender to God. This word leads us to another way to obtain peace.
3. Trust in the Lord and believe His promises. - This requires us to be like little children, placing our hands in His and allowing Him to guide us. "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight." (Proverbs 3:5-6) Remember the promises of God for us. "You will keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on You because he trusts in You." (Isaiah 26:3 - NKJ) "The Lord gives strength to His people; the Lord blesses His people with peace." (Psalm 29:11) Jesus said, "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)
4. Praise Him for what He has done and will do again. - Samuel set up a stone of remembrance for God's people. "...He named it Ebenezer, saying, 'Thus far has the Lord helped us.'" (I Samuel 7:12) "It is good to praise the Lord and make music to Your name, O Most High, to proclaim Your love in the morning and Your faithfulness at night." (Psalm 92:1-2)
All of us are faced with difficult situations in life. We have a choice to make: Are we going to let our circumstances steal our peace or are we going to put into practice the suggestions above? "Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace." (Colossians 3:15)
Joan E. Mathias