“Peace” is a funny thing.
To one person, “peace” means “peace on Earth”—as in, the total cessation of military conflicts. To another, “peace” means a peaceful world, the kind of place you might see in a Hallmark greeting card. To another still, “peace” might simply mean a quiet night apart from the fights of children, stress at work, and endless holiday events begging for attention, time, and money.
Like I said: “peace” is a funny thing.
If you’ve been with me on this journey for any amount of time, you know that the Bible’s definition of “peace” is usually a little (or a lot!) different from ours in our heads.
As we enter the second week of Advent, we focus on this funny thing called “peace”.
We read the Holy Spirit inspired words of the Apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 1:3-9:
3 Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 4 I always thank my God for you because of his grace given you in Christ Jesus. 5 For in him you have been enriched in every way—with all kinds of speech and with all knowledge—6 God thus confirming our testimony about Christ among you. 7 Therefore you do not lack any spiritual gift as you eagerly wait for our Lord Jesus Christ to be revealed. 8 He will also keep you firm to the end, so that you will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 God is faithful, who has called you into fellowship with his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.1 Corinthians 1:3-9
New International Version
He wishes “grace and peace” to the Christians in the Roman city of Corinth. On one hand, this is a standard greeting from the Apostle. But it’s important to not let the “academics” of our research cause us to miss the significance.
Why wish them peace? “Grace” seems obvious: we are saved, sustained, and brought to Heaven by God’s grace. But why “peace to you”?
In the original language of the New Testament (Greek), the word Paul uses for “peace” implies a harmonious relationship and freedom from disputes.
And because of God’s grace, they had everything they needed to experience God’s peace.
- They were given God’s grace (verse 4). That is, they were genuine disciples of Jesus.
- They had been made rich by the endowment of spiritual gifts (verse 5).
- Their giftedness by the Holy Spirit validated the proof of their salvation (verse 6).
- They had everything they needed from the Lord (verse 7).
- The Lord would sustain them all the way to their ultimate homegoing (verse 8).
- Everything they possessed spiritually was based on the never-ending faithfulness of God (verse 9).
Dear one in Jesus, we have the same things they do!
But please note: Scripture is not addressing this to an individual, but a congregation (most likely, multiple congregations in Corinth).
We cannot experience God’s peace all by ourselves. Granted, it might be easier, but it’s cheating. 🙂 We experience the peace of God in the community of Christian fellowship.
The peace you need in your life will not be found by isolation. Instead, it is found through an intimate relationship with the Lord of your soul and with the Body of Christ.
How can you work to bring peace to yourself and to others this week? Here are three suggestions:
- Reach out to a Christian brother or sister with whom you don’t always see eye-to-eye. Just appreciating them in the Lord Jesus and giving grace to them brings peace—to both of you.
- Write a prayer for peace of those in your Christian circle who are experiencing conflict. Pray this prayer on their behalf. If you’re comfortable, share the written prayer with those for whom you’re praying.
- Be peaceful. Perhaps this is hardest of all. But don’t wear your heart on your sleeve. Give others as much grace as you need. Assume the best intentions from people. Speak life to those who bring conflict into your world.
“Peace” is a funny thing. Maybe it’s even a little subjective person-to-person.
But one thing is for sure. Jesus, our Prince of Peace, has taught us how to bring harmony into dissonant situations. Let’s take extra time this week to help our part of the world “get in tune”.
Looking for a spiritually-themed Christmas gift?
Would you consider my book, 31 Days of Spiritual Wisdom, based on a study in Proverbs? It’s available either in print or on Kindle.