Saturday, November 11, 2006

Pursuing Peace: Part II


The key to receiving peace is being justified by faith, trusting Christ, and continuing to pursue peace. Since, "...This is all my hope and peace/ Nothing but the blood of Jesus/..,"10 it gives me great peace to know that I can repose on God and that I have an "advocate with the Father."1 One common reason many people lack peace is because of guilt. Whereas, the Bible offers this great promise "...though your sins be as scarlet, they shall by white as snow;..."12, "There is therefore no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit."15 How do you receive this cleansing blood? By trusting and believing by faith, with a contrite heart, that Jesus Christ supplied that blood and that it alone can atone. Isn't it beautiful to know undoubtedly that, "all things should be reconciled back to Himself, whether on earth or in heaven, as through Him, [the Father] made peace by means of the blood of His cross."14, and that, "...the effect of righteousness will be peace [internal and external], and the result of righteousness will be quietness and confident trust forevermore."1' Finding peace can only be done where righteousness prevails, which is because God can not tolerate sin and because peace is only found where God is. We can then joyously proclaim along with Paul, "Therefore, being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ."16

"Do not try to find a place free from temptations and troubles. Rather, seek a peace that endures even when you are beset by various temptations and tried by much adversity." If you seek this peace which Thomas a Kempis described, you will find it in the bosom of Christ. Where everything is entrusted to Christ, peace is found. For when He is taking care of everything, you don't have to worry about anything. If you "lost" your house, a family member, etc. you did not really lose them because they were already given to Christ. Therefore, you have peace and know that they are in the hands of the greatest Caretaker. However, as Dietrich Bonhoeffer said, "Peace is a great venture. It's a dare..."2 Giving up everything means to relinquish our ideas, plans, dreams, possessions, friends, and family. Similarly, obtaining peace means hurting our pride, taking up a cross, serving others, and doing everything for Christ.17 The pursuit of peace includes learning and acting out trust, servant-hood, exorbitant selflessness, love, joy, and many other virtues. Once you can truly say, "All to thee my blessed Savior/ I surrender all,"18 you have found real peace.

In my opinion, procuring peace and surrendering all to Christ has to be done in small everyday steps, which means pursuing peace daily. For example, if your brother is pestering you and your flesh says, "Scream at him!!!," but you allow Christ to prevail and restrict that urge to sin, you've made a progressive step to having self-control. Further more, if you stop and put your brother, your reactions, and your irritability on the altar, then you have also made a step toward surrender, trust, and peace. Although you do need to sincerely tell God that you've given everything to Him , you also need to constantly remind yourself of it through incidents like the one described above and show yourself each little thing that belongs to God. Surrendering in this way makes it real, because almost everything is reached easier by small but steady steps. Sadly, I cannot say I have yet reached the goal of always being at peace with my surroundings 19, family, etc. but I can relate with Paul when he wrote, "Not that I have now attained [this ideal], or have already been made perfect, but I press on to lay hold of (grasp) and make my own, that for which Christ Jesus (the Messiah) has lid hold of me and made me His own. I do not consider brethren, that I have captured and made it my own [yet]; but one thing I do [it is my one aspiration]: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the [supreme and heavenly] prize to which God in Christ Jesus is calling us upward."20 Therefore, do not give up but remember that in order to have peace you must constantly be in pursuit of it.

Bibiliography:

10 "Nothing but the Blood" by Robert Lowry, 1876111 John 2:1
12 Isaiah l:18aKJV
13 Romans 8:1 KJV
14 Colossians 1:20 Amp
15 Isaiah 32:17 Amp
16 Romans 5:1 KJV
2 Ibid
17 Luke 14:27, Philippians 1:21, 2:3-5
18 "I Surrender All" by J. W. Van De Venter
19 Philippians 4:11-12
20 Philippians 3:12-14 Amp.

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