When someone says `peace!' what are you reminded of? Your memories are no doubt conditioned by the age in which you grew up.
If you went through World War 2, the `war to end all wars,' you might think back on the hopes and aspirations which surrounded the end of that conflict and the declarations of victory.
If you were a young person the year the United Nations was founded, you remembered the hope that there would never be a war again!
The communist takeover of China, the Korean conflict and the Cold War detente made many skeptical that there would ever be real peace.
The peace marchers of the sixties, the failure in Vietnam and the endless conflicts even to the present day have only deepened the skepticism. The coming of democracy to the former USSR has indeed made us aware that democratic ideals alone are not enough to ensure peace and happiness.
So what do we need to ensure our peace?
So do we have to join the peace movement to have peace?
So where is our hope for peace to be found? There is nothing intrinsically wrong with promoting peace.
But in an age when negotiators continually shuffle between Washington and the world's hot spots, working out deals which are soon broken, bargaining to save just a few lives, we must understand that peace cannot be made
Look at this scenario of God's own people, pictured by the prophet Jeremiah in the Bible:
"Every one deals falsely. And they have healed the wound of My people slightly, saying, `Peace, peace,' but there is no peace." 1
When we tryd forcing peace on others, we find it does not work.
We have tried achieving our own peace through self-effort, going for the almighty dollar (or franc, marks, yen, rubbles even) But Jeremiah says the reason there was no peace in his day, was that "Every one is greedy for gain."
There is a better way.
John, the apostle of Jesus Christ, recalled Christ's words:
"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, nor let it be fearful." 3Christ has promised his own peace to those who follow him. In fact, he has promised it as a gift, not something we have to work for!
The apostle Paul put it this way in one of his letters: "He Himself is our peace." 4
Some of my readers may be asking, "How can I have peace, if Christ is himself peace? Do I meditate until the Christ-spirit is miraculously in me? Or do I `get' Christ by eating the communion wafer?"
Contrary to some popular beliefs, the Bible says that the way to have Christ take over our lives is by admitting our need!
"If we admit to our sins, He is faithful and righteous. He forgives our sins. He cleans out the old evil desires." 5
Christ is not some easy panacea, just a way to avoid all problems. He is the real source of peace in the midst of our troubles.
Thus, the way to peace involves:
"Live in Me, and I in you. The branch cannot live fully by itself, unless it is part of the vine. Neither can you have life except you live in Me." 6
What is peace? Peace is Jesus, the source of peace, living in us. Jesus overcoming fear and worry - that is peace.
quotes marked NASB are from the New American Standard Bible, copyright (c) 1960, 1973. La Habra, California: The Lockman Foundation.
1 Jeremiah 6: 13, 14 (NASB) return to text
2 Jeremiah 6: 14 (NASB) return to text
3John 14:27 (NASB) return to text
4Ephesians 2: 14 (NASB) return to text
51 John 1:9, paraphrased return to text
6 John 15:4, paraphrased return to text
copyright notice: Script copyright (c) Rick Galbraith, Dryden, Ontario, Canada: 1996
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