Posted by: davidbowerkingwood | July 25, 2016

Violence! Peace? Violence!

Peace in the Midst of Violence, is that even Possible?

Does it seem to you that violence is on the increase? It seems to be getting harder and harder to avoid excessive exposure to reports of violence today; everyday brings new accounts of violence being inflicted on one person by another and it just seems to be getting worse! Even if we keep in mind the overexposure to news which results from the technological wonders of modern communication along with the media’s propensity to feature blood and gore it still appears that the number of stories is on the increase.

Although I’m only a casual student of history I am a student of the Bible and that alone will show the reader that violence is not a new phenomenon. It would appear our poor troubled world has known too much violence from the beginning and shows no signs of changing for the better. The Bible, of course, explains why that is happening and promises us that this era has both a starting and a stopping point already determined by God; I suspect that many of us look forward to the stopping point!

Considering the nature of this world what is Jesus talking about when He tells the disciples He will give them His peace? This world has never experienced world-wide peace so what do you think Jesus had in mind? Let’s look at what Jesus said and try to understand His meaning.

Is it Possible to Find Peace in the Midst of Violence?

 In John 14 our Lord is explaining to His disciples that changes will be coming to their lives and how they should view those changes. The promise of the coming of the Advocate, the Holy Spirit to live in them forever is revealed in this chapter and later the promise of peace; a special kind of peace the world cannot give will be God’s gift to His children. So if this gift was given, then does this mean you’re enjoying God’s peace while living in such a troubled world? In John 14:27 it is written:

27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”

What is the Lord saying in this verse; this peace is a gift to His children, not a gift to the world. Someday, as the Prince of Peace, Jesus will bring peace to the world but that day is still in the future. The last part of this verse tells us the nature of the peace we have been given; an inner peace which includes an untroubled heart and a freedom from fear.

I think we can all agree an untroubled heart and a freedom from fear would have great value in today’s troubled world. During these “Times of the Gentiles” there will not be world peace; world peace will only come when the Prince of Peace returns and takes control of world affairs, not before. By the time that happens we will have already been removed from this world by the power of God.

Peace Through Tribulation and Trouble, not Peace from Tribulation and Trouble!

Although there may be moments of relative peace in our circumstances there is no guarantee these moments will not pass. As I wrote in God Has the Answer to Your Biggest Problem:

“Problems are a way of life as we live our lives on this troubled world. We’ve all heard the old saying which goes something like this, “You’re either in the middle of a problem, just emerging from a problem, or getting ready to encounter a problem in your life.” The longer we live the more readily we can see the truth of that statement.”

What we must recognize is nothing that happens to us catches God by surprise; He has known from eternity past exactly what would happen any specific day at any specific time! The challenge we face, as God’s children, is the nature of our response; will we respond by faith and honor God or by sight and dishonor God, that is the question.

The response of sight to tribulation and trouble will be anxiety and fear, we demonstrate by our sight reaction a lack of faith in God; in God’s ability and willingness to provide for us and care for us as a loving father should.

Responding by Faith

The response of faith demonstrates our trust in God and His provisions for us in every situation; this is the response of Romans 8:28-30 where we are told:

28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. 29 For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.30 And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.”

If we know that God is working all things together for our good and is working all things according to His will then how can we worry and complain? This is a vital part of living a life of faith and must be learned as the Christian grows in their faith. It is only as we learn this lesson by faith that we can join with Paul when he writes:

11 I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” Philippians 4:11-13

Learning the Secret

Let us set for ourselves the goal of learning “the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.”

In the meantime let us join with Paul in his determination to:

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God,which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.” Philippians 4:4-9

May the God of Peace be with You!


Responses

  1. Enjoyed reading this.
    Peace be with you, too, my friend!

    This song came to mind…thought I’d share the lyrics.

    Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus

    Turn your eyes upon Jesus
    Look full in His wonderful face
    And the things of Earth will grow strangely dim
    In the light of His glory and grace

    Oh soul are you weary and troubled?
    No light in the darkness to see
    There’s a light for a look at the Savior
    And life more abundant and free

    His words shall not fail you, He promised
    Believe Him and all will be well
    Then go to a world that is dying
    His perfect salvation to tell

    Turn your eyes upon Jesus
    Look full in His wonderful face
    And the things of Earth will grow strangely dim
    In the light of His glory and grace

    Like

    • Sheila,
      Thank you!
      Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus has been a favorite song of ours for many years. When I was music director at Scofield Memorial Church in Dallas we used to start each Sunday evening worship service with the congregation singing that song.
      David

      Like

  2. Thank you for this reminder about true peace

    Like

    • Kathy,
      This is truly a time for us to turn our eyes upon Jesus!
      David

      Like


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