As we wrap up our thoughts this Advent season, let’s take one more look at the idea of peace.
We have seen that we can have peace with God, and we can have the peace of God in our lives. We have discovered that we can have God’s peace regardless of our outward circumstances. We have also learned that God calls us to be peacemakers with others.
How might this peace be manifested in our lives? What might this look like? What are some practical ways in which we can practice being a peacemaker on a day-to-day basis?
Are we to practice “peace-at-all-costs”, where we cave in to the demands or desires of others?
Are we to practice “peace-by-strength”, where peace is maintained by superior force?
Neither one of these really look or feel like peace, do they?
Could there possibly be another way?
Let’s open God’s Word and see how we can live in peace:
9 Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. 10 Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. 11 Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. 12 Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. 13 Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality.(Romans 12:9-21, English Standard Version)
14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. 16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight. 17 Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. 18 If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. 19 Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” 20 To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
The Apostle Paul, in his letter to the churches in Rome, provides a proper understanding of who God is, and their relationship to the Lord. In chapter 12, Paul begins by telling them (and us) that we are to live a holy, sacrificial life to God, allowing God to transform us from the inside out.
Paul clearly knows the surrounding culture is in opposition to the things and ways of God, so Paul goes on to provide specific “how-to’s” to live out being a peacemaker.
Today’s text provides many “how-to’s”, just to highlight a few:
- Patient in tribulation
- Constant in prayer
- Blessing those who persecute us
- Living in harmony with others who share faith in Jesus
- Don’t repay evil for evil
- Take the first step toward peace with all, even our enemies
- Don’t seek revenge
- Love our enemies, and serve them
- Overcome evil with good
The Apostle Paul simply captured on paper what Jesus lived out while here on earth.
And that’s the mystery and the wonder of Advent.
May we learn and practice likewise.
Peace on earth, and good will to all,