What is the opposite of peace? Anger, hatred, enmity, war…? And what does it look like to lack peace? Sleeplessness, anxiety, fear, dread…?
Before I started walking with Christ, I didn’t really understand that I was actually in a state of war… with God. Yet the more I read the Bible, I became convinced that in my natural state I was acting against God by constantly acting for myself. “For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot” (Romans 8:7). “Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior” (Colossians 1:21).
Learning that I was opposed to God was sobering, but learning that my hostility toward God made God hostile toward me was just plain frightening. A war with God was one I could never win. And in my flesh, I could not contain my opposition. It was a war I did not want but could not stop. It came as a great relief to learn the truth of the gospel. God did for me what I could not do for myself.
- What is your current relationship with God like? Is it one of hostility or peace?
READ THE WORD: COLOSSIANS 1:19-20 (ESV)
19 For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, 20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.
RESPOND TO GOD
Because of Jesus, I am at peace with God. We are reconciled. Our relationship is healed. Peace is a great relief. And that is not all.
Because I have peace with God, I have the opportunity to be at peace with others. Jesus, the peacemaker, invites me to be a peacemaker too. I am invited–even commanded–to extend the forgiveness and grace I have received from God to those who may have wronged me (or simply been annoying). The Bible is crystal clear: “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you” (Ephesians 4:32; see also Mathew 18:21-35 and Colossians 3:13).
Because of Jesus, I am at peace with others. Being forgiven by God not only gives me a model for me to forgive, but also provides the power to forgive. I can give out of the abundance of grace given to me. Forgiving others sets my heart at peace.
These past few weeks at Time With God, we have studied who we are in Christ. It has been humbling and encouraging to rehearse the truth that, because of Jesus, I am chosen, I am forgiven, I am prayed for, I am being transformed, and I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Each truth boldly and lovingly contradicts the lies that we are alone, forgotten, hopeless, failures, unloved, and hated. The world screams these lies every day. Some of us have ears to hear them, and our spirits get crushed. It brings fear and anxiety, anger and self-loathing—the opposite of peace. But, Jesus says, “No,” and gives us a new identity by his mercy and grace. The truth of our identity in Christ sets our hearts at peace.
- With thanks to God, say these words aloud:
Because of Jesus, I am at peace with God.
Because of Jesus, I am at peace with others.
And, because of Jesus, I am at peace with myself.
- Praise Jesus for reconciling you to God and for setting you free from the lies of this world.