Thursday, February 9, 2017

A Lifestyle of Authentic Peace

I can’t overemphasize the importance of peace as a real and practical benefit of our covenant relationship with God. His peace should not be an infrequent surprise but an ongoing rule of our lives. The apostle Paul underscored the essential nature of peace in 2 Thessalonians 3:16.  Did you notice how crucial he considered peace to be? “At all times.” “In every way,” Peace can be possible in any situation.

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Isaiah used the word peace twenty-six times. God continually promised peace when His captives returned wholeheartedly to the Lord. The familiar messianic passage, Isaiah 9:6, identifies peace with Christ as the “Prince of Peace,” The next verse connects the Prince of Peace to His reign: Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne. Many of us have memorized the words of Isaiah 26:3: You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trust in you.

Did you see any hints of a common denominator trying these scripture together? Isaiah 9:7 perfectly portrays the key to peace authority. When we allow the Prince of Peace to govern our lives, peace either immediately or ultimately results. Peace accompanies authority.

Peace comes in situations that are completely surrendered to the sovereign authority of Christ. Sometimes when we finally give up trying to discover all the answers to the whys in our lives and decide to trust a sovereign God, unexpected peace washes over us like a summer rain. We sometimes lack peace in far less strenuous circumstance because we are not as desperate or as likely to turn them over to God.

I finally had to turn some of the hurt of my childhood over to God’s sovereign authority because I realized they would consume me like a cancer. When at last I allowed Him to govern everything concerning my past, not only did the Prince give me His peace, He actually brought good from something horrible and unfair. If you have not yet bowed the knee to God’s authority over areas of your circumstances; but you must believe, bend the knee, and learn to receive.

We must remember that bending the knee is ultimately a matter of pure obedience. You may never feel like giving your circumstance, hurt, or loss to Hi; but you can choose to submit to His authority out of belief and obedience rather than emotion. Obedience is always the mark of authentic surrender to God’s authority.

Isaiah 48:17 beautifully reveals the relationship between obedience, authority, and peace. God has a right to all authority because of who He is. Allow me to share my outlook on His right to complete authority. He is God , the creator of the heavens and the earth, the supreme Author of all existence. He reign over all, and in Him all things exist. He is the Lord, the Master and Owner of all living creatures. He is the covenant Maker and Keeper. He is holy. As Lord, He will never ask anything of us that is not right, good, and open to the light. He is perfect and undefiled. Lastly, He is Redeemer, the one who brought us from sin’s slave master so we could experience abundant life. He bought us to set us free. What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us? (Romans 8:31).

Take pleasure in knowing that God inspired His Word with great care and immaculate precision. He chose every word purposely. When He said we could have peace like a river, He wasn’t drawing a loose analogy. He meant it. What does it take to have peace? Attention to God’s commands (by obedience) through the power of the Holy Spirit. Obedience to God’s authority not only brings peace like a river but righteousness like the waves of the sea. Not righteous perfection. Righteous consistency.

You see, God’s way is the safe way. The right way. And the only peaceful way in a chaotic world. I hope you’ve discovered that peace is not beyond your reach. It’s not a goal to meet one day. You can begin a life of authentic peace today. Right now. The path to peace is paved with knee prints. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts… (Colossians 3:15).


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