Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Peace of God

Quiet Time Image by -Delphine - via Flickr I typically get up very early to start my day.  Today I got up at 3:30 AM.  There are three reasons for me to get up this early.  First is habit.  Once I start getting up at a certain time I have a hard time sleeping past that time.  Second is to spend time with God.  Third, it is the most quiet time in my house.  With four children there is no peace when they are awake. 

Peace and Quiet is a common expression.  As near as I can tell the idiom originated in the mid 1800's according to American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms.  Interesting to think about when you consider the changes that the western world was going through at the time.  The Second Great Awakening, Rise and fall of empires, Latin America's struggle for freedom from imperial rule, rise and fall of Napoleon, Many other wars on every continent of the world, the industrial revolution, Communist manifesto published, revolutions of 1948,  California gold rush, Origin of Species published, American Civil war, the end of slavery in most all major empires, Lincoln Assonated, The second industrial revolution and so on.  Interestingly by the mid 1800s the noise from machinery alone may have driven one to say in exasperation, "All I want is a little peace and quiet." 

Now we have more noise than ever.  It is informational, technological, political, commercial, legal, spiritual, mechanical, medical, and I am sure that I missed some.  In the midst of the cacophony we to long for a bit of "peace and quiet."  Even in this quiet moment I still hear cars outside, machines at a plant about half a mile away, clock ticking, the hum of the refrigerator, the whoosh of central air, and the whir of the computer.  So even in my quiet I continue to be bombarded by noise.

In some respects we have become accustom to our noise.  In some ways it is actually comforting.  Have you ever been at home when the power goes out?  The phrase eerie quiet comes to mind.  Eerie?  Really?  How about natural quiet.  A quiet that comes from an absence of man's noise.  How about a peace "not as the world gives," but as the Lord gives. 

Let's contrast "peace of the world" with "peace of God."  Peace of the world is conditional.  Peace of God is given freely to them that would receive it.  Peace of the world is maintained by agreement and/or enforcement.  Peace of God is maintained by covenant and seeking.  Peace of the world is temporary (fictional perhaps, no time without war).  Peace of God is eternal (though remaining incomplete in this life).  Peace of the world is externally controlled by the circumstances and relationships in life.  Peace of God is internally controlled by relationship with God's Spirit and transcends circumstances in life. 

Jesus Said:

The Counselor, the Holy Spirit -the Father will send Him in My name-will teach you all things and remind you of everything I have told you.

Peace I leave with you. My peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Your heart must not be troubled or fearful.  John 14:26-27 (HCSB)

I am not alone, because the Father is with Me. I have told you these things so that in Me you may have peace. You will have suffering in this world. Be courageous! I have conquered the world.  John 16:32-33 (HCSB)

Peace of God is connected to our relationship with Him.  We have peace toward God through our relationship with Jesus Christ.  We receive God's Holy Spirit who give us peace through trouble, frightening times, and suffering.  Peace of God is cultivated through being peaceable, lenient, compliant, bulging with mercy and good fruits,  and avoiding favoritism and hypocrisy.  Peace of God comes from fellowship with other believers.  Finally Peace of God is deeply connected to Holiness.  Without repentance from evil and pursuing that which is good Peace of God is unreachable. 

Go now and pursue peace.  Not the peace the world offers, but the peace of Christ that is found in setting you mind on the Holy Spirit of God. 

Blessings and Peace