To give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace. Luke 1:79.
Jesus came to save me from an eternity where I would be separated from Him, a place of torment, a place the Bible calls hell. We celebrate God becoming man, Christmas! Luke 1:79 is a well-known Christmas verse from the Gospels. We celebrate the Gift that gave us liberty and we hope that those that sit in darkness will receive The Gift. Is there more to it?
Jesus came to defeat death, but He came for much more. According to Luke 1:79, He came to guide our feet into the way of peace. Don’t we all want peace? We trust Jesus to take save our souls, but do we trust him to guide us to peace?
From time to time I hear someone say, in desperation, “All I want is peace; just give me a little peace. That’s all I Need.” The world needs peace now. Our “Christian nation” has little peace today. In keeping with Christmas, I recall a song, words written by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow on Christmas Day in 1863. We hear the same cries today:
And in despair I bowed my head;
“There is no peace on earth,” I said;
“For hate is strong,
And mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!”
God said He would guide us in the way of peace. Peace is essential and the Scriptures speak about attaining peace. Peace is not entirely a choice, it is learned. And we have The Guide. Do you need peace today?
God claims the He can keep us in perfect peace. Is this possible? The Scriptures claim so, therefore it is. This is not “Pollyanna” thinking. I have listed a few of my favorite “peace verses” below. God’s part is to give me peace, which can be a very tall order, but I have responsibility in this matter of peace too. Like salvation, I must receive it.
There is grief so deep and it hurts so badly that we feel we will never survive it. After sixty years of living, episodes of crying through the night, then feeling dead for days on end, I want to address these peace-breakers. I do not want to talk about the things of life that so devastate us that we doubt the reality of perfect peace, but I must. The traumas that upset our sensibilities, threatening to destroy our peace forever; you know the ones. There is no way to return to peace without the leading, the guiding of the Holy Spirit of God. These losses keep us returning to the Comforter, the Guardian of our souls. The “peace-breakers” will not be silenced by our skill alone, nor by the passage of time. We need help, and grace. God’s Word promises peace beyond our own understanding. Life experience shows me that this is so, but we must return to The One that wants to be our Guide. Broken relationships, false accusations, crushing words, death and life-changing loss can make peace seem impossible. With God, all things are possible. Matthew 9:26. We must assume, He did not mean peace to be an exception.
I keep my mind fixed on God. I think of what I hear in light of Scripture. That is thinking spiritually. I trust Him. My responsibility remains the same – no matter how close the thing that causes stress. We are mortal; we need to encourage ourselves in the LORD, speak truth to ourselves. There are instances that peace will not return easily or completely but being peaceful is a spiritual practice. True peace being possible only when the spirit is The Spirit. Most of the world is lost. Lack of peace is one of the evidences.
Allowing ourselves to be in a constant state of turmoil can be a play to get attention. Ongoing lack of peace is an indication of poor spiritual strength. Our minds must be stayed or fixed on the LORD when storms attempt to destroy our lives, to take away our sweet peace, the one that passes all understanding. As with any wound healing comes at different rates. Our peace may not return today, but we know we are not alone. Jesus said, “I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.” Joh 14:18. How beautiful that promise to His children.
Thinking right and turning to God is an exercise of faith but the result is growth and practically speaking, strengthens us that we can help others in their time of need. You and I can be instruments of the grace of God in the lives of others, our imperfections shaded by God’s grace, by The Comforter.
Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee. Isaiah 26:3 We do not need a Bible degree to understand this promise, just faith enough to obey it.
But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. James 3:17. This verse even sounds peaceful – gentle, easy to be intreated.
For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Romans 8:6. If we think like the world, we will die, but we can think on a higher plane, where life and peace dwell. We can.
Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you. Philippians 4:9. We have responsibility in this part of our life. We must do as our Guide shows us to do.
Another verse in the poem by H.W.Longfellow:
Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
“God is not dead, nor doth He sleep;
The Wrong shall fail,
The Right prevail,
With peace on earth, good-will to men.
But whoso hearkeneth unto me shall dwell safely, and shall be quiet from fear of evil. Proverbs 1:33
AND THAT’S PEACE, He said.
Be encouraged. Here’s hope.