Confounding Peace

I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. [John 16:33 ESV]

Have you noticed the world, a non-personal environment, acts like it wants to steal away our peace? This is also how I characterize sin. It seems like sin has a personality, definite goals and a measured plan for achieving those goals. Our corrupted world, a tool used by sin, in conjunction with sin, even in cahoots with sin, works toward dissolving the relationship the Christian has with God, the author of peace. It does this by disrupting the normal flow of things, by taking what should be simple and corrupting it, by complicating a process which may be tedious but is still straight forward. Our world, controlled by sin, extracts expectations from us which are not reasonable and then confounds those expectations. We are essentially defrauded by the promises of the world because they are a lie, which means our expectations are  built on a lie.

When my expectations are not met, which is often, I will admit anger toward God. I will also admit anger toward myself. I will confess there are others with whom I am angry. Can there be peace where there is anger?

Jesus expressed anger, but never at God nor Himself. When He expressed anger toward others it was those who said they had not sinned, or were not sinning, usually the religious, pious and self-righteous. All my anger shows is my self-centeredness and self-absorbed thinking.

So I repent. A lot. God’s is in control and I have no right to act like He is not. I am forced to recognize the empty promises of this world. I change my expectations, even relinquishing them (sometimes only to pick them up again) to God who is in control. And, I talk to myself, reminding me of my guaranteed place in His kingdom. There is no bureaucracy holding the guarantee hostage. It is as sure as the blood of Christ and the work of the Holy Spirit.

How often has God commanded we wait for Him? Part of waiting is learning peace. Not the peace of giving up, or the false peace of being in control of one’s emotions, but the real peace which comes only from resting and waiting for Him who has overcome the world.

We cannot fight sin alone. Jesus did not come to help us overcome the world and succeed in our fight against sin. He came to defeat sin. He came to die in our stead. He came to bring us back into relationship with God, a relationship destroyed by sin. He came to give us peace with God even while we battle with sin and the world and our own flesh.

He is the original Peacemaker. Not someone who mediates peace between those at war in the world. Such peace is tenuous and faulty. Jesus came so we might have peace with God which is eternal and cannot be shaken by the machinations of the world, or the attacks of Satan, or the unreasonable expectations of self. These turbulent characteristics of the world, the flesh and the devil may confuse and confound our understanding and perception of peace but cannot destroy the peace we have with God. Once at peace with Him eternally at peace with Him.

One of the characteristics of a citizen of the kingdom of heaven is the drive for others to have a growing, intimate relationship with God. To understand Him and incorporate in the thinking of the heart intimate knowledge of Him. A peacemaker is one who wants others to have peace with God as an extension of Christ’s work as a fulfillment of the known and obvious will of God. Those who are true peacemakers have incorporated all if the characteristics of the citizen of the kingdom bringing their personality to bear upon the person before them.

I have characterized the love of those who show mercy as active love for they actively love others as God loves them.

I have characterized the love of those who are pure in heart as selfless love for they have abandoned themselves to God and willingly give themselves away to Him.

I characterize those who are peacemakers as having tough love for they will allow nothing of the world, the flesh or the devil to compromise the peace they have with God or the peace they want others to have. True peace. Not a counterfeit peace blown away by any wind. Eternal peace divested of anything of this world and invested with everything eternity offers.

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