"And suddenly an angel appeared and with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, " Glory to God on the highest, and on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased." Luke 2:13-14
As we look upon the beginning of a New Year let us focus on a scripture quoted often this time of year. Have we ever noticed when the angel and heavenly host appeared exactly what they proclaimed? Glory to God on the highest and on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased. We all desire the peace spoken of, but do we desire to meet the conditions required in order to attain it? We must determine in our hearts to glorify God with our lives and live to please Him first and foremost, and we will have peace in our lives. It is as simple as that, and yet profound simplicity. It requires a surrender of our will for His. This cannot become a reality without totally laying down our lives and allowing Him to live through us. This will not be possible until we allow Him to reveal His love for us personally and individually. He can only do that when we determine in our hearts we are going to obey the greatest commandment given which was to love Him with our all; all our heart, mind, body, and with all our strength.(Matthew 22:34-40) We must come to love Him more than ourselves.
Jesus is our example to follow, so follow Him through the Gospels: Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. Make that your New Year’s Resolution. You can’t follow what you don’t know. You can’t love who you don’t know.
Hebrews 1:1-4 reveals the superiority of the person of Christ better than I possibly can:
"God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world. And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power. When He had made purification for sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, having become as much better than the angels, as He has inherited a more excellent name than they."
Jesus, who was called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace is called these names because He is the only one who can bring true peace, restoration, redemption, and reconciliation between you and God and others. We are told to continually pursue peace and sanctification in Hebrews 12:14, and told without it, we will not see the Lord.
The truth is the peace we must first seek is with God Himself. That comes through His Son Jesus. He came to reconcile our relationship with God the Father. That relationship must come first in our lives before all else. It alone will ensure you a life of peace no matter your circumstances, or how others value or esteem you. You will learn His love and peace is enough to hold you in this life. You will realize He alone is worthy of all of you. No one else has earned that right in your life as He has.
Another powerful truth is it is the only relationship you have control over, because He is perfect in all His ways. If we surrender totally to Him and allow Him to sanctify our lives we will have peace and be a whole person. It is the only relationship that can promise you that.
In order for us to have peace with one another both parties must be willing to lay down their rights and their will for His. If only one is willing the relationship cannot be reconciled. We cannot control anyone but ourselves, and even if we cannot restore a relationship we will still have peace as long as we are reconciled in our relationship with Him, which requires surrender and obedience to His laws and His ways. They are always right. We cannot afford to go through life doing what is right in our own eyes. He is God and we are not. His ways are far superior to ours always in every circumstance. He alone holds the truth, because He alone can see inside of each one of us. There is no counselor greater than "The Counselor" and His Words.
Jesus came to bring peace between man and God. And that He accomplished as we have read above in Hebrews. His way is selfless. Our way is all about self. We must deny ourselves and be willing to take up our cross as Jesus did. He denied His flesh even though His flesh cried out to God in the Garden of Gethsemane to let the cup of suffering on the cross pass from Him. We know He sweated blood due to the intensity of His agony. Yet, He resolved within Himself, "Not My will, but Yours be done."
Please realize God’s way was much higher than our understanding then and even now as we contemplate the cross and sacrifice of a perfect son. We must grasp by the power of the Holy Spirit we are all called to a crucifixion of our flesh in order to become free from our sin nature of putting our selfish desires and ambitions before the interest of God Almighty!
We cannot let others control our responses. We know those who were following Him did not want Him to go to the cross. Jesus had to rebuke Peter as Peter rebuked our Lord saying, "God forbid it, Lord! This shall never happen to you.
Listen to Jesus’ response:
"Get behind Me satan! You are a stumbling block to Me; not setting your mind on God’s interest, but man’s.
Ultimate peace came from God’s will, not man’s. We all understand Peter’s response, but he was a stumbling block with his good intentions, because he could not grasp the big picture, for he allowed his emotions of the flesh to overcome the known will of God Jesus had revealed to the disciples. We become a stumbling block to one another when we choose our selfish desires over the selfless love God gives and requires.
Living selfish lives does not bring peace in our lives, but misery. When we are selfless and follow Him we will have peace with God. We may not have peace with one another, but we will with the One who matters most, and He will reward us with inner peace and love, because we have chosen to please Him, rather than ourselves.
Do you want more peace in your life as you look around our world today as I do? We can if we live to bring glory to God instead of ourselves. He alone is worthy of all glory, honor and praise. If we choose to live a life pleasing to Him as Jesus did we will be greatly rewarded in this life and the life to come. I sometimes feel like a broken record repeating the same truths over and over, but I cannot improve upon the Word of God itself! His promises are true. His Word leads us in the straight and narrow path few find. Be one of the few this upcoming year.
In His love.
"Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it." Matthew 7:13-14
I find my greatest peace in solitude observing His creation as it radiates His peace and love in the depths of my being.