Peace On Earth 

Introduction:

The message of Christmas is a message of peace, not political peace or social peace, but spiritual peace–peace with God. The Christmas birth set in motion the sacrificial life of Jesus that would culminate in His death on the cross. As Isaiah 53:5 says, “… the punishment that brought us peace was on him.”  We have peace with God in our life because the God of Heaven became flesh and took the punishment we deserve, to give us a salvation we do not deserve. God’s favor–God’s grace and peace rests on each of us because of Jesus. 

Something To Talk About:

The word peace, or versions of the word, is used in all but one New Testament book. It seems the angels had it right when they declared, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.” They were declaring God’s desire for peace. Yet, countless number of people lack peace in their lives. We prefer to struggle with all types of fears and insecurities, constantly worried about the future, our job, and our family. So how do we achieve peace in our lives? The bottom line is to experience peace, you have to let go. And to:

  1. PUT GOD FIRST IN EVERY AREA OF YOUR LIFE. Matthew 6:31-33 (TLB) says, “Don’t worry at all about having enough food and clothing …. Your heavenly Father already knows perfectly well that you need them, and he will give them to you if you give him first place in your life and live as he wants you to”.  Any time you take God out of the center of your life and put anything else there — no matter how good it is — you’re going to worry. Make it your goal to have a deep, intimate relationship with God. Let Him into every area of your life. If you constantly look to other people for answers and validation, pray about this and ask the Lord to help you stop doing that and instead look to Him. 1 Thessalonians 2:4 says, “for we serve God alone, who examines our hearts’ deepest thoughts.”. When you decide to serve God with your whole heart and make Him first in your life, your joy and peace will increase.
  2. LIVE ONE DAY AT A TIME:  God knew in His infinite wisdom that 24 hours a day was a manageable number for people. Sometimes days seem so long, and sometimes too short, but each day is still 24 hours, no more and no less, and any changes are unlikely. The words of Jesus Christ still reverberate with truth. “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” (Matthew 6:34) He was teaching people to live one day at a time. The context of Jesus’ thoughts begins in Matthew 6:35, and concludes in the final verses of this teaching. “So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ …your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” (Matthew 6:31-34) God asks His people to seek Him first, to look to Him, to believe in Him, to trust in Him. There is no benefit or advantage in fretting about tomorrow today, because today requires every ounce of mental readiness and physical energy, and tomorrow will demand just as much. By applying Jesus’ words, we can learn to trust God in hard times, one day at a time.
  3. TRUST GOD TO CARE: The cure for worry is casting our cares on Him, and trusting Him. Instead of making ourselves miserable trying to figure everything out on our own, God wants us to place our trust in Him and enter into His rest, totally abandoning ourselves to His care. When we get to the point that we can say, “God, I trust You,” it will literally change our lives. Psalm 37:3 says, “Trust in the LORD, and do good, dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness.”  Don’t waste another day of your life worrying. Determine what your responsibility is and what it is not. Don’t try to take on God’s responsibility. When we do what we can do, God steps in and does what we can’t. So give yourself and your worries to God and trust Him. If you do this, you will experience God’s peace which is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand.

Questions:

  1. What is your definition of worry? Do you think peace is natural?
  2. Read John 14:27: Jesus teaches us that we can’t gain peace from the world, only through Christ. What in this world consistently worries you? What has caused you stress and kept you up at night? 
  3. Have you ever had a time where you felt God’s peace? Where you let go of a worry that had been troubling you and gave it to God? How did you reach that point?
  4. Do you struggle with any “what if” questions? How can you push past them to experience God’s peace in your life? Rather than worrying and struggling through something uncertain, what can you do to trust God more today?
  5. Read 2 Corinthians 12:8: Paul was asking God for healing, but the answer he received was: “My grace is all you need.” Have you ever prayed for something and felt God was ignoring your requests? What action step can you take to move forward and experience God’s grace and peace?

Take One Thing Home with You

The New Testament significantly expands on the concept of peace. And when the angels announced the birth of Christ to the shepherds, they said,“Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.” (Luke 2:14).

Anyone can have peace when the sun is shining and everything is coming up roses. But the peace that God offers is peace that controls our hearts and keeps us calm, even when everything around us is raging. My prayer is that we experience His peace anew this Christmas—the peace of Jesus Christ Himself, the Child that is born, the Son that is given, and the One that will someday rule the world. All of government will weigh upon His shoulders, and He will handle it perfectly. And His children will be part of that kingdom.

And His name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father—and the Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6).