Sunday, December 14, 2008

PEACE



This morning I read John 14:27:

"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."

That is appropriate in this day and time, as it has been in all generations when our ancestors felt as we do now--can things get worse?

Yes, and they will.

So what is this peace? And what kind of peace does the world give? How are these two kinds of peace different?

The world--kosmos--is concerned with the present. It measures quality of life by wealth and status, achievements and self-esteem. It is a world view of self-reliance, of Independence from God.

Knowing this, what kind of peace does the world give?
Well, some may think money. But as we read in the papers and hear in the news media stars and millionaires are checking into rehabs, going from on broken relationship to another, fall into depression, things that we think would never happen if only . . .. But, as we have recently seen in our economy, no money who you are, your can be gone in an instant.

How about success? Those that I know who are wildly successful have very little personal peace. To stay on top you have to defend your place and keep climbing.

Stuff! How about stuff? You know, cars, big houses, 100+ pairs of shoes, closets full of clothes, jewelry, electronic goodies. Yes, those are great to have, but they get old-someone gets something better. New and improved stuff always makes ours obsolete. Styles change.

There are drugs, and alcohol. Yes, those do give a temporary feeling of well-being, but it wears off. And if one stays in a drugged state, the feeling of well-being gets harder and harder to achieve.

Relationships! That's the ticket! Once again, temporary. We all have our issues.

Religion, ie. the kind that depends on us. Like those that teach we must abuse our sinful bodies by beating ourselves with sticks, crawling on gravel, or those with the view that because the body was made for pleasure, then indulge! Then there are the middle of the road religions that teach that we stay neutral, to blank out, to control ourselves. There are a plethora of religions that teach hate, fear, and superiority. All of them come from mankind's point of view on how things should be.
How about philosophy? It only raises questions and gives no answers.

Art? Knowledge? Subjective.

My conclusion? Peace as the world gives is like cotton candy. It is puffed up, pretty, and sweet, but it disappears in an instant and leaves us with a sticky mess.



PEACE AS JESUS CHRIST GIVES

Jesus gives life, not another religion to follow. However, I can understand why some would include Jesus' peace in the same light as those of fear, superiority, and hate. It isn't because of Jesus' teaching, but because of the stinking practices of those who profess to know him. Those who think that because they are white they are superior. Those who snub the tattooed, pierced, oddly dressed people. Those who think that if they touch, or even speak to a homosexual they are doomed to destruction. Those who want to "nuke" every Muslim on the planet. Those who think that only their denomination will make it to Heaven. Those "Thou shalt not . . . Christians. Don't drink, don't go to movies, don't watch television, don't cut your hair, wear make-up, dress in pants, don't play football, don't! don't! don't!!!!! Negative, negative, negative, doomed to Hell teaching.

How the heart of Christ must grieve.

What does Christ teach? Two simple commandments:

To love the Lord our God with all our heart, with all our soul, and all our mind. This is the first and GREATEST commandment.
And to love our neighbor as ourselves.

Let me point out that LOVE IS NOT AN EMOTION. Rather it is an expression of faith. Love - agapao - is to "honor, cherish, devotion, respect, loyalty, compassion, generosity, and concern. LOVE IS A VERB!

If left to ourselves it would be impossible to be consistent in this commandment. Some circumstance would break our resolve. Thank goodness that Jesus understands. In fact, that is why he came to earth. He is mindful that we are "but dust" - Psalm 103.
He made covenant with God to provide the nature we must have to love unconditionally. Of course we will fail, but that is why he sent the Holy Spirit to point out where we failed, to counsel us, to teach us how to overcome, and to comfort us. He reminds us of what Jesus said.
There is no condemnation, beating ourselves with sticks, bowing 100 times, giving up chocolate (thank goodness!) rather, it is like a loving parent correcting a child. The consequences from our actions depends on our obedience or hard-headedness.

PEACE comes from God's divine promise of life with him, from his mercy, and freedom from all the shame and distress that is a result of a broken world. It is reconciliation with God, no longer being in dependant of him.

We can either choose our way or his way. We can either choose a religion that depends on our strength, with no final destination, or we can grow in God's strength, and when our pulse stops, life won't.

Peace. It isn't an emotion either. It is a state of being. Circumstance will make us cry and fret. We will get angry. But we know, oh yes, we know peace. And that is our anchor in the storm.

2 comments:

Christina said...

The concept of love and peace not being all about emotion is something hit home in marriage. I'm grateful that this idea was presented LONG before the Lord sent my Damon along.
Thank you for this blog. I loved it.

Theresa Anderson said...

Linda,
I enjoyed your post on peace and found it while searching pictures for my own blog on peace. I am an aspiring writer and speaker who leads a group of ladies in West Metro Atlanta to accomplish the unique dreams God has placed in our hearts. Your profile is inspiring. Thank you for your example.