It’s that time of year when we see the signs, billboards and church marquees proclaiming, “Peace on Earth!” We’ll soon be seeing pictures of various religious leaders who, we are told, are “praying for peace,” much like similar religious leaders have prayed for peace for the last 2,000 years.
To borrow a phrase from a popular television personality, “How’s that workin’ out?” Is the world more peaceful now than it was last year or the year before? When these religious leaders and thousands of their followers pray for peace, why isn’t there peace? Is God deaf to all of those prayers? Is there some reason God doesn’t want mankind to have peace? Or could it be that all of these sincere folks are asking for the wrong thing?
It appears that in the minds of many people, peace is simply a gift that God could grant if we could just talk Him into it. That idea is disturbingly similar to the words of the Old Testament prophet Elijah when he told the priests of Baal that they needed to pray louder because their god apparently was sleeping or didn’t hear them.
The fact is, peace is not simply a gift that God capriciously gives or withholds. Peace is a result, the product of decisions made and actions taken.
The phrase “peace on earth” comes to many people’s minds because of an account in the book of Luke, where angels appeared to a group of shepherds, announcing the birth of the promised Messiah. The New American Standard Bible captures the meaning of the angelic message well when it translates, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased.”
This message actually reveals three important concepts about finding peace.
First, it reveals that peace on this earth—in this life—is attainable. After 2,000 years of apparently unanswered prayers by the nominal followers of Jesus, we might conclude that God’s answer to those prayers is a resounding “No!” But that is not, nor has it ever been, God’s answer. There must be some reason why the peace that is attainable has not been attained, so let’s look further.
The second concept included in the angels’ message is that God enables peace, but He must be included in the process. Look around you at the troubled areas of this world. Is God being included in the various efforts to produce what we humans call “a just and lasting peace”? If not, those efforts will be no more successful than 2,000 years of unanswered prayers.
And that leads us to the third vital concept—peace can only exist where humans are living in a way that pleases God. Probably the main reason peace has never come to this chaotic world is because we humans want to live in a way that pleases us while we want to reap the reward of those who live in a way that pleases God. Perhaps instead of asking for the gift of peace, we should be asking for the ability to understand and live the way that produces peace.
Peace is a result of the choices we make, not some magical gift granted by an arbitrary God by waving his magic spiritual wand. If you and I want peace in our lives, we must choose to live in a way that pleases Him.
Are you ready to do that and experience the blessings He is ready to give you? If so, you’ve come to the right place. Take your time to explore this website, and you’ll find the keys for life, hope and truth—and peace.
For Life, Hope & Truth, I’m David Johnson.