18 Dec The Price of Peace
We are right in the throes of Christmas. Shopping, traffic, planning, decorating, getting your house ready, dealing with the crowds, travel plans, spending money, spending more money, and the list goes on. For me, every year it seems to get harder and harder. Right around Halloween I feel this tiny panic rise in my chest about Christmas coming.
I see commercials, Christmas cards and hear songs that say Peace on Earth, but it never feels peaceful when there is chaos all around. For a season that touts Peace on Earth, peace seems very distant to so many.
Each of you may be in a different place right now with Christmas. For some it is a very difficult time because you’ve lost loved ones or you’re alone. Depression and loneliness can set in. Some dread the entire season, while others absolutely thrive in it.
So wherever you are in that mix, I want to dive into what peace really is, and how we can find it.
The word Peace in Hebrew is Shalom. In the Hebrew alphabet, every letter also means an entire word or phrase. So when you break down the word shalom it literally means, “To devour or destroy the authority over chaos to bring peace.” In it’s abridged form it means ‘wholeness or completion, and I love this translation: “tranquility in the soul that is unaffected by outward circumstances or pressures.’
Peace doesn’t come easily. It’s not something you can just pray for and poof, you have peace like snowflakes settling on your cheek by a beautiful still lake.
Isaiah 32:7 says, “The fruit of righteousness will be peace; its effect will be quietness and confidence forever.
Peace has a price and is the result of a life of seeking righteousness. Peace is fought for, sought after, and earned from waging battle after battle.
Romans 14:17 says, “For the kingdom of God is righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.”
When you become born again and make Jesus Christ the Lord and Savior of your life, you enter into the kingdom of God. As a child of the Living God, you act like your Father and follow the example of Jesus. When you live in accordance with the Holy Spirit, your life begins to display the nine attributes known as the Fruits of the Spirit, which are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
Children of God are described by John as this, “None of those who are children of God continue to sin, for God’s very nature is in them; and because God is their Father, they cannot continue to sin.”
Now you know that we still sin, but the difference is we feel it in our hearts and we ask God to forgive us and help us to not do that again. It’s simply obedience. As you grow in God and live by the guidance of the Holy Spirit, make the right choices and turn from sin, you begin to display these attributes like a fruit tree that first blooms and then bears fruit. Everyone around you will recognize you by the fruit you bear and see Jesus in you.
If you tell me you are a Christian and then you freak out every time something goes wrong, or lose your temper and cuss at your children, or fight constantly with your husband, or continue to hate someone who wronged you, or gossip about others behind their back, then it gives others the wrong impression about who God is and how His power changes lives. When you sin, and others see you, you aren’t reflecting the Father who loves you and saved you.
Please understand that life isn’t perfect and things do go wrong. We are human and it’s easy to get caught up in the attack first. We forget to pray at the onset of an attack. We jump into action immediately and try to solve problems, try to fix it. We cry, we worry, we can even make ourselves. Women especially, because we are doers. Men will form committees and subcommittees, and have meetings to discuss it, but ask a woman to do something and it’s done. We jump into action and try to fix the problem.
Jesus said in John 14:27 “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”.
Jesus wants us to have peace. He doesn’t want us to live in fear or have anxiety about anything.
The gifts of the Spirit may be freely given, but they do come at a price and Heaven puts a high price on its gifts.
Women especially are warriors of the home front. We are on the front lines every day of our children’s lives and in our marriages, in our families and in our jobs. We juggle more now than ever before.
Over the years I have had to fight for my marriage, my children, my health and my business. I’ve waged battle after battle to protect those I love and all that is important to me. I fought cancer, learning disabilities, the school system, marital issues, sexual harassment, bad influences over my kids, gossips, bullies, to name just a few.
I am a warrior. I am an overcomer. I am more than a conqueror. I’m a child of the Living God. I’m a mom and a wife. Don’t mess with me!
I accepted Jesus as my Lord and I turned from everything that tore at my soul. I took Deuteronomy 28 seriously when it said to follow God’s ten commands and He would give me a great life. I have continued to learn and grow. I have failed and learned the depths of God’s forgiveness and mercy. I also learned that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph.
Seeking righteousness is more than just following God’s rules. It’s keeping Jesus Christ as Lord over your life and walking in His will. The second you start fretting over life’s circumstances and are filled with anxiety, you immediately demonstrate unbelief. It reveals who the central focus of your life is – you or God.
If you live your life within God’s will with Jesus at the center of everything, you can expect peace and joy to become a part of your daily life, no matter what comes your way.
When I said women are warriors and at the forefront, I meant it. Peace comes as you make your kids go to Sunday school, pray at dinner, teach them to forgive, pray for strength and help when obstacles come, communicate with your husband instead of yelling at him and storming out of the room, pray together as a family, stand your ground in the name of Jesus, and more.
Peace comes when you fight these battles and exercise your faith over situations day after day. Peace comes after you pray for God’s help. The Bible is filled with stories of how peace came after the battle. Peace didn’t just come, the people had to fight for it and trust in God for His help. Psalm 34:14 says “Seek peace and pursue it”.
Remember the definition of shalom (peace)? To devour or destroy the authority of chaos to bring peace. Who is the authority of chaos? Satan. And how do we destroy him?
- By following God’s commands
- By strengthening our faith
- By fighting our battles in the name of Jesus
- By praying first
- By praising the name of Jesus
- By studying God’s Word
- By trusting in God
- By being a light to others
Remember this: “Peace is tranquility in the soul that is unaffected by outward circumstances or pressures.”
Life is lived forward, but understood backward. After fighting for all that you love, you will see peace come. You will realize that your soul – your life has peace and you will know you fought hard to get it by keeping Jesus at the center of all you are.
The peace of God is like a compass for our souls, much like the star of Bethlehem, leading us to the Savior. This Christmas as we celebrate the birth of Jesus, the light of the world, be filled with the gift of the Holy Spirit who promises us peace and joy and life everlasting.
Luke 2:14 – “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”
God bless you all.