As a mom, I am helping my family "grow their peace" this year.
I know I won't be able to control all their circumstances or even all their life stressors....any more than I will be able to control my own.
But this is the year I am committed to learning to grow our peace even in the midst of a world swirling around in chaos.
So my first strategy this month was a Bible study on the word "peace." The word peace is used 230 times in the Old and New Testaments, so I was not without scriptures to study.
A simple word search in the Greek (using all the easy tools available to us online :)) led me to find 6 different usages of the word peace in the New Testament. From the absence of war to safety and security, to a blessing pronounced at death as "may they rest in peace," I certainly found a wide ranges of usages of the word.
I was particularly interested in finding the places where peace is promised to us as Christians. And I did find many verses that gave me new hope.
Jesus is named in Isaiah as the Prince of Peace (Is. 9:6) and at His birth the angels boldly and clearly declared peace on earth had come (Luke 2:14).
But Jesus also made it very clear that….
He did not come to bring all forms of peace
Uh oh. That was not what I wanted to put on my list to present to the kids!
Check out these verses from Matthew 10: 35-39:
For I have come to turn " 'a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law--a man's enemies will be the members of his own household.' Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.
Wait a minute! I thought Jesus was going to help us with our peace! That is what the angels said. How could He be declaring here that He is “not come to bring peace?"
The answer is very simple. When Jesus entered the earthly scene, His very presence separated light from darkness, sin from righteousness, truth from lies.
He did not come as Santa Claus, a fairy tale or a soft cuddly teddy bear. He came as the King of Kings as well as the friend of sinners. But His entrance would divide those who received Him....from those who rejected Him.
In other words, He is not just a peacekeeper. He is Lord.
Many today would miss this side of our Savior. They are trying to put Him in a glass box like a museum piece, or put Him in their hip pocket as a good luck charm.
But we cannot isolate Him from His full nature.
So at His name nations will rage.
Companies will argue.
Politicians will scoff.
And families will split.
Not because He wants it that way. Just because some will not receive Him for who He truly is.
I needed to remind myself of this as I look to grow our family's peace this year. False peace is not real peace. For what fellowship does light have with darkness? (2 Corinthians 6:14).
It would not be right for me to promise my kids:
Hey, just follow Jesus and everyone will like you and every day will be an easy, smooth journey.
No, we are not promised that kind of peace. Matthew 10 makes that very clear.
But the story does not end there. I did discover anew that there is a peace that we are promised.....and I cannot wait to tell you next time what I found!