Luke 2:14, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.”
When I think of world peace, I think of the movie Groundhogs Day, where Bill Murray lives the same day over and over until he gets it right. If only that were possible for me! In trying to win a girls heart over they are having a toast, and I think that perhaps this is the sixth or seventh toast of that repeated day and finally he says let’s drink to world peace. Many people want world peace, and then above verse have been used to substantiate that sort of wishful thinking, especially around this Christmas season. Why is it wishful thinking?, because the Scripture reads that there is condition for this peace spoken of and that is that God’s favor is resting upon a person’s life.
Peace is not the absence of war as some might think. It is not the serenity of sitting on a beautiful beach under the palm trees. It is not the absence of trouble in one’s life. Peace is not any of these things. The Scripture reads, “For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost (Romans 14:17). Look at the particular order in which peace comes, after righteousness, and then follows joy.
Let me illustrate what I mean as I believe that this is the ultimate picture of peace. In Matthew 8, Jesus leads his disciples into a boat, and then he goes and takes a nap. “24 Without warning, a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat. But Jesus was sleeping. 25 The disciples went and woke him, saying, “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!” vs. 26 He replied, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm.
When one follows Jesus, repents of their sins and submits their will to His, for the first time righteousness is in their character instead of worldliness. James 4 reads, “Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God.” Once someone repents of their sin, and knows that the victor of death, hell, and the grace lives in them, how can that person help but to experience the peace that God desires for their lives? This is because their will becomes aligned with God’s will. There is a sort of magnetic attraction that takes place that pleases the Lord. When one has the righteousness of Christ, and the peace is realized of spending eternity with Him, and no longer separated from Him, joy erupts! What is joy? Again let me share what joy is not. Joy is not getting a new “toy”, a raise at work, entering into a new relationship, etc…. No, these are things that bring us happiness. Happiness is circumstantial and contingent upon things. However, the circumstances change and the things wear down, break, and could be stolen. The Declaration of Independence tells us that we have the right of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, but I believe that God tells us that He gives life (more abundantly) (John 10:10), liberty (because He is the perfect Law of liberty) (James 1:25) and the pursuit [and gain] of righteousness. Paul said, Philippians 3:9, “…and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ-the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith [in Christ].”
Application: Humanity can never have peace on earth, until righteousness begins in one’s own life and heart. Apart from the Lord, there is no peace. If you have no peace in your life, then today is your day to repent and align your will with God’s. Blessings Pastor Phil