Warring Factions Declare a Cease Fire
Christmas – a Time for Peace
By Paul Hayden
December 11, 2017
What is the war? We are in a war, to be sure. It is constant. It is a war of thoughts, of ideologies. It is a war for our hearts and minds and lives. We see and hear it going on around us all the time.
One of the main fronts of the ongoing war is between liberals and conservatives, both in our country and the world. You see it on these pages and across the Internet - all the time. There are a number of arenas within this overall conflict, like the size of government, control of a nation’s finances, manipulation of the population, gun control, abortion, education, and many more.
Above and more important than the liberal/conservative conflict, though interwoven into that to be sure, there is an eternal war, a spiritual war, between God and Satan, good versus evil, the anti-God against God Himself. We see this conflict being fought out daily in our lives and the lives of those around us. The ‘news’ is filled with often stomach-turning details concerning this constant conflict.
Don’t you get tired of it? It is wearying, even exhausting. Why can’t we just have peace?
Peace – indeed! Jesus came to bring peace. Jesus came to bring God’s peace. “Pray for peace.” We hear this a lot around Christmas-time. But it was not to be a peace at any price. Peace is a funny thing. There can only be peace if all parties agree, OR if one side forces peace!
Peace is not just an absence of conflict. Skepticism, sarcasm, ugliness, fighting the evil, coming against the bad in our lives, in our communities, in the world – there is always conflict in the world.
Who wouldn’t love to live in peace? So many of us would. But there are those who do not seemingly want peace. They want what they want, and it is not peaceful. Without becoming like Pollyanna (a young, exceedingly positive girl in a book from 1913, and a movie from 1960), how might we work together to project the world into more of the peaceful and good it can be?
The peace that Jesus brought was not just any peace. He even said, “Do not think that I came to bring peace on the earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.” (Matt. 10:34) He was speaking of a higher level of ‘peace,’ a longer-lasting peace that is based on truth, based on what God wants for His creation! When He spoke of peace and unity, it was understood that it was to be based on and grounded in a living faith in God, not some man-made set of rules or guidelines. He did not come to bring a false peace that looks good but is not really true peace.
Jesus brought peace for the heart of the individual, not the peace defined by man’s thinking, but rather peace that calms troubled hearts, that delivers people from fear (John 14:27), and that brings courage in the face of tribulation like nothing else (John 16:33). Although it was not an entirely peaceful time, those in the early Church were said to have enjoyed a growing peace, “in the fear (reverence) of the Lord and the comfort of the Holy Spirit.” (Acts 9:31)
Jesus came, bringing “the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, (that) will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Phil. 4:7) Paul goes on to say to his readers to “finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.” (Phil. 4:8) This is part of the peace that guards our hearts and minds, in the face of the constant battles of life, this war for our very hearts and souls.
Is there any ‘good news’ in all this? God is! God’s love is the good news!
God created us. God loves us. God loves us more than we can possibly imagine. He created this world in an almost infinite number of ways that made it perfect for the support of our life. We can be reconciled with this God and know His love – and we can be reconciled to each other. But I do believe, and the Bible teaches, that it must be on God’s terms, not ours. When we align our thinking with His thinking, it works – it really works.
If you find yourself longing for peace in your life, you should know that God is as close as your next breath, only a heartbeat away from you right now. If you draw near to God, He will welcome you and draw near to you. If you like, please feel free to contact us for more information. This peace is meant to be shared – it is an inherent part of God’s love for us. We would love to share with you more about God’s love and peace, and how you might have it in your life.
May God bless you with His peace - and a wonderful Christmas and holiday season!
Paul Hayden is a Christian believer, and an American patriot, necessarily in that order. He is a student of the Bible, and is avidly interested in our role in the context of history, as understood through the heart and eyes of faith. Paul has lived and traveled somewhat widely, and now lives in the heartland of the U.S. (central Illinois), with his wife Donna - they have five grown children. Since December of 2016, he serves as the Editor-in-Chief of www.ConservativeTruth.org.
"I was raised by a Christian minister, Kenneth Hayden, until his death when I was 10. Then my mom married a farmer. So I was raised in a very down-to-earth home. My faith has grown through the years, but both in conjunction with the institutional church and through small groups and individuals, including books as well as group settings, where deep, sincere faith is shared that aligns with Biblical truth."