As we come to the end of the first week of Advent, I pray that you have been considering or adopting some practice this season which will remind you of God’s Hope and focus your heart on sharing that hope with someone else. Reflecting on Advent is one important step this Christmas. Developing a new habit that draws you deeper into hope and allows it to flow back outward to others is the critical overflow.
The same is true for God’s Peace. Peace is the word we focus on during the second week of Advent which begins this coming Sunday. Isaiah 40 is a popular verse which helps focus our hearts on the peace that comes with Jesus’s arrival.
Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. 29 He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. 30 Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; 31 but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.
Luke 2:13-14 reads like this: 13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”
Jesus came to bring peace. But what we see in his own words, he didn’t come to bring the kind of peace we might expect. He didn’t come to bring world peace (Luke 21:10). He didn’t come to bring personal inner peace (Luke 12:49-51). He didn’t come to bring a symbol of a future peace because the angels say in Luke 2 that peace has come to earth (objective peace here and now).
So, what kind of peace are we to reflect on during Advent and how does that overflow out of our lives into new habits and practices of walking more deeply with God this season?
The peace that Jesus brought to earth 2000 years ago was peace between you and God. Paul tells us in Romans 7 that our sinful nature and minds are at war with God’s Spirit. Our sin has separated us from God. The truth is, we resent God for many reasons. We resent the fact that his ways contrast our desires often. We resent the fact that God’s grace is for everyone because we want to feel justified in our lack of forgiveness of others. We resent that God’s will flies in the face of the things that our culture says is good and true. Our rebellion runs deep. We are at war with God. And the one thing we need is reconciliation with him.
This season of Advent should cause a Christian to pause and consider the great lengths to which God went to secure our peace with him. Jesus died for it. And ever since the Spirit has been renovating our hearts to the will of God. You and I won’t thrive off world peace. We won’t find ourselves in inner peace. Nor will we discover God in future peace. As we trust in Jesus’s blood to reconcile us to God and to daily reconstruct our hearts, we will find the peace of God flowing into our lives.
I love the way C.S. Lewis says it in his book, Mere Christianity.
God made us: invented us as a man invents an engine. A car is made to run on petrol, and it would not run properly on anything else. Now God designed the human machine to run on Himself. He Himself is the fuel our spirits were designed to burn, or the food our spirits were designed to feed on. There is no other. That is why it is just no good to ask God to make us happy in our own way without bothering about religion (faith). God cannot give us a happiness and peace apart from Himself, because it is not there.
How does the knowledge that Jesus’s arrival, death, and resurrection, which has ended the war and reconciled you with God, drive you to take a new step of trust this season? What practice can you adopt this Christmas that focuses your heart here? How does a thankful, humble, forgiven life turn worship back to God and offer Christ’s peace to one another? How does it drive your urgency and compassion to serve others and share that peace?
We are at peace with God through Jesus. What other response could we possibly have because of it?
Celebrating His arrival,
Be sure you secure your spot and the spots for the ONES you will invite to experience peace with you. Register now for Christmas Eve at White Oak by clicking here.
White Oak Christian Church