Peace

“Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification. (Romans 14:19)

I hate to say this, but there were a few things that were easier on me before I became a Christian. Now I have never been one of those Christians who in reminiscing looked back longingly to a pre-Christian time as something for which to yearn. I have known some who have, and even a preacher, who having visited his home town, told me it sure felt good to hang around his “homies.” After Jesus set me free, being around my “homies” gave me the “heebie-jeebies.” Those having been raised in the Church with a Christian family may not have that frame of reference.

My point is: the one thing that was easier before I became a Christian was the issue of peace. Then I was not concerned about someone not liking me. Now I am. Then I was not bothered if I told someone off and “set ‘em straight.” Now I am. We are called to live in peace, as far as it depends on us (Rom. 12:18). And if for some reason we happen to violate that, the Holy Spirit will convict us, and not give us peace, until we fix it or our conscience becomes seared. Nothing is worse, and better, than to have that nagging conviction that plays on our mind and spirit until we do the right thing. Before I became a Christian I didn’t have to worry about any of that. Well, I can solve the problem by always being Christ like, which is my desire, but I don’t seem able to pull it off all the time, hence the peace thing.

Lest I give the wrong impression, never, and I mean never, have I ever looked backed longingly at my former heathen life. I can identify with the country song of years ago, the chorus of which went something like: “Since I met Jesus, there’s only one thing on my mind. If I can’t sing about the Man from Galilee, brother, then I’m not satisfied.” I say amen, and amen. The “peace thing” that I mentioned was simply a reflection on the fact that a spirit sensitive to the Holy Spirit’s correction is a wonderful, but sometimes painful thing. The basis of which is love, which by its very substance, is often open to hurt. But praise God, as we are able, He is true to his promise that if our mind is set on Him, He will give us peace that transcends all understanding (Phil. 4:7).

There’s a lot of peace talk being bandied about, as there usually has been, having to do mainly with world peace free from war and conflict. That is never going to change until the Lord comes. In fact up until that time everyone will be saying “peace and safety” before sudden destruction comes (I Thess. 5:3). Personal peace, of the normal worldly kind, is attained by the meeting of physical/psychological needs and reasonable realization of personal ambition. That is, for a season. There are too many testimonies of those who “have it all” eventually becoming dissatisfied because it seems like “having it all” in many instances is never enough. Achieving peace of mind through the satisfying of human appetites seems to demand more and more to maintain homeostasis. Almost like the drug addict who needs ever increasing “fixes” trying to match that first high, and it never happens.

Here is the bio of a person whom most of you know and exemplifies one having everything but peace. He graduated from Harvard with several doctorate degrees and is considered one of the most brilliant men alive. He is the CEO of a Fortune 500 firm that has built a myriad of billion dollar projects and in the process he has amassed the greatest fortune probably in the world. He jet sets around with celebrities and has dined with heads of state everywhere. He has the best that money can buy. But, finally, it has brought him no satisfaction. According to a Fox news report he has entered some kind of rehab, because according to him, “Everything has become meaningless.” Well, forgive me for taking many liberties to bring king Solomon into the twenty-first century. But that’s how he sounds in the book of Ecclesiastes, without the rehab.

Solomon recounts how everything he had accomplished and experienced left him without peace. He didn’t just have a good time now and then, but he tried it all! He confesses that, “I denied myself nothing my eyes desired; I refused my heart no pleasure” (2:10a). Many of us will never know what that kind of worldliness is like, but the periodic lottery winner who ends up broke or in trouble gives us an inkling. However, Solomon ends this book by stating the answer: “Remember your Creator in the days of your youth…” (12:1a). And he finishes with, “…here is the conclusion to the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments” (12:13). That is the answer to everything for Solomon being “meaningless and a chasing after the wind.”

As Solomon finally revealed, the peace that only God can give is of a different kind. It is a peace of the soul and spirit; deep and complete. It does not depend on status, wealth, or achievement. It only depends on receiving the presence of the “Prince of Peace” residing in our heart and transforming our soul. It couldn’t be more clear about the difference when Jesus told His disciples that He was leaving them with His peace, and not the peace that the world gives (John 14:27). Anytime we find ourselves experiencing a nagging uneasiness that is undefined and not of conviction, the Bible seems clear that we probably need to have a time of focusing on the Word and the Lord. Romans 8:6 states that “The mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace.”

I think that I have often confused peace with happiness. I don’t believe peace is a feeling. When things are going well we can describe having a sense of satisfaction, contentment and peace, but when things aren’t going well that all seems to disappear along with our peace. Pretty normal. But what is it that caused Paul and Silas (Acts 16:22f), after being “severely flogged” and thrown into prison, to begin praying and singing hymns to God, at midnight? Their circumstances did not impact the peace of God that ruled in their hearts (Col. 3:15). This is but one of the myriad of instances in recorded history that testifies to the peace of God that transcends our human condition. In fact, it is happening all the time.

And finally, God’s blessing to Israel in Numbers 6:24-26: “The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace.” The peace that passes all understanding is available to all Christians who make God through Jesus Christ their first love and build their faith around the reality of His presence.

Comments

  1. Love love love you Dad! Seriously, you should have been making a living at writing all these years. 🙂

  2. Well, my, my, my, you are so kind to an old man. Love You.

    Dad

  3. I agree with Mom. Your writings are so full of wisdom and they bless us 🙂

  4. Alan Dodd says:

    Thank you my beautiful granddaughter.

  5. Hey I have been looking for that song. Sinced I met Jesus, do u know who wrote it. Or do you know the lyrics

  6. Wonderful words and very encouraging. Would you happen to know the name of that Country song you mentioned? I would really love to listen to it. Keep up the blogging! God bless.

  7. Great article, Alan. Fred and Johnny asked who wrote this song. The writer is Bill Sprouse Jr. It featured on various Marantha albums. I love the song! It should resonate with everyone who has been touched by the Master. This song reminds me of how my younger brother Tom responded to the Lord’s touch as he gave his life over, along with his heart, to Jesus after having truly encountered him: “the difference was just like day and night”.

    Since I Met Jesus [Bill Sprouse Jr.]

    Well I used to write songs about loving,
    Thought I knew about love.
    And, I used to write songs about good times and friends,
    A good time was all that I thought of.

    And, I used to write songs about women,
    Crying in my beer late at night.
    And, I used to write songs, and dark old honky tonks,
    Brother, I was never satisfied.

    Since I met Jesus,
    Theres only one thing on my mind:
    If I cant sing about the man from Galilee,
    Brother, then I’m not satisfied.

    Well, I used to write songs about living,
    I used to think I was alive.
    But, I was dead, I didn’t know it, until I met my Lord,
    And, the difference is just like day and night.

    Well, now everybody’s talking about ‘brotherly love’,
    and how we must give peace a chance to start.
    Well, there won’t be any peace until the good Lord up above,
    get’s invited into everybody’s heart

    Since I met Jesus,
    There’s only one thing on my mind:
    If I can’t sing about the man from Galilee,
    Brother, then I’m not satisfied.

    Since I met Jesus,
    I’ve got a one track Gospel mind:
    If I can’t sing about the man from Galilee,
    Brother, then I’m not satisfied.

    Brother, then I’m not satisfied.

  8. Thanks Scotty. Yes, I did eventually find the song on a Maranatha disc and sent an email to one of the inquiries. It didn’t tell who the author was so I appreciate you supplying that info. Your comment about Tom is so important. The fact that he “truly encountered Him” made all the difference, and when that happens there is no going back. The world is filled with “easy-believism” and “cheap grace” that won’t stand the test of time. The Apostle Paul said, “woe is me if I preach not the Gospel.” If I can’t talk about Jesus, “Brother, then I’m not satisfied.” Praise be to God!

  9. Thank you for the info, I’m not sure what the problem is but I’ll have it checked out. Thanks again

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