But peace is tenuous and good will fleeting. Violence seems to be everywhere. All violence begins in the human heart. War has its roots in inner violence. A person who is at war with himself will soon cause strife to those around him. Whether in families or nation against nation, inner violence needs an object for its outward expression. It only stands to reason.
Hearts on edge and troubled souls are fertile ground for jealousy, resentment, bitterness and grudges. Yes, all war has its origins in the human heart. Like angry false prophets who come in sheeps' clothing but underneath are ravenous wolves (Matthew 7.15), warmongers are known by their bitter fruits.
"Peace! Peace!" they cry but peace is illusive because peace in the world begins with internal peace. Without internal peace there is no real peace. A peaceful heart is where love, contentment, wisdom, generosity and kindness abide. Real peace is illusive for those who turn away from God and listen to worldly messages that promote greed, unbridled sensuality and endless acquisition.
Greed promotes more greed -- usually at the expense of weaker parties. Unbridled sensuality promotes insatiable desire and lust. They do not achieve lasting satisfaction. The senses are only temporarily satisfied and the soul lacks lasting contentment and real internal peace.
What is real peace? It is a divine order of the soul. In it most complete and sublime sense, it comes from Jesus Christ.
Jesus told his disciples that after his resurrection and ascension
into heaven, God would send them the Holy Spirit to teach them and of the things that Jesus told them. Christ then said, "Peace I leave you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give it to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid." (John 14.26-27)
This promise Jesus gave to his disciples extends to all who have encountered Christ's and put their hope in Him. I have experienced that peace just as millions of other Christians have experienced it for more than 2,000 years. Christ is our peace.
It is possible for a person to have internal peace even when they are
surrounded by violence, societal upheaval, poverty, sorrow or physical afflictions. The Apostle Paul wrote a letter from a dank and dirty jail cell. He wrote about the "peace of God that surpasses all understanding" being available to those who prayerfully petition God in Jesus Christ.
Paul learned to be content in whatever circumstances he found himself, whether in abundance or the humblest of circumstances. This was a direct result of Christ's presence within him.
We should be reassured by Paul's words and strive for the same; it is possible for all who trust in Christ and surrender their lives to him. Detachment from the things of this world, placing every fear and concern with Christ draws us ever nearer to him. He is the Prince of Peace.
WHAT REALLY MATTERS
When our lives draw to a close, peace with God is all that will
matter. Only God's love and the truth of the cross, and how we have responded to them, will decide our eternal destiny. The things of this world will fade from view; all we acquired in life will be left behind. All that will remain will be our peace or enmity with God.
Christianity teaches that all who die in God's grace and friendship will live forever with Christ. That grace and friendship will come through faith in Christ and his sacrifice at Calvary. We will see God as He is. Heaven is the culmination and summit of the deepest human longings and our ultimate happiness.
The temporal is temporary, the eternal is permanent. Our real home is heaven, not here.
Make Christ's presence and peace his gift to you this Christmas. He is the reason for the season. Authentic lasting peace on earth and good will toward all humanity is only possible through Him. Click below for Casting Crowns performing I Heard the Bells ...