Peace on Earth

Nestled among the parables of Jesus is the Parable of the Sower (Luke 8). It is a basic description of how human beings respond to God. According to Jesus’ famous parable, people’s responses generally fall under four categories: a) We hear what Jesus’ message has to offer, but then before we have a chance to think on it, Satan snatches the word from our hearts; or b) we hear the word and become excited about the good news, but after a time, forget what we’ve heard. c) We hear the good news, but succumb to the cares and desires of this life and never mature in our belief. Or, d) we “hear the word, hold it fast in an honest and good heart, and bear fruit with patience” (Luke 8:15).

As a Christian, I have never really thought of myself as falling under any category but the last. Until one day last year when preparing for a Bible study with our international group, I looked more closely at the third category: “they are those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by the cares and riches and pleasures of life, and their fruit does not mature” (Luke 8:14). The cares of this life… ah, my Achilles heal!

I think sometimes I expect that true peace with God is somehow wrapped up in an easier or healthier or richer life. And when characteristics of “the good life” are endangered, missing, or lacking, when life is flying by without ease, without health, or without riches. When I look in the face of expectations, both from myself and from others, and fall drastically short, I panic and become terrified. That. Is the very moment when the thorns take hold and begin to choke my precious faith in God.

The interesting thing about a Christian’s walk with God is that we are walking the same life that everybody else is walking. We don’t have a free pass. We don’t get special exemptions. Christians suffer with the same ailments, setbacks, and pain, as well as enjoy the same successes, wealth, and health that any other human being has a chance to experience.

The difference is that we recognize a Savior who is willing to walk along with us. He offers us His outlook, His Spirit, and His strength. Jesus never promised the good life, but He did promise His help. [Jesus said,] “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30

This past Christmas, as with any other Christmas, we heard songs and carols of “peace on earth.” But unlike popular thought, peace on earth doesn’t refer to international peace, world peace, financial peace, or inner peace, per se. It refers to a divine peace that is offered to us, through faith in Jesus and His gift of salvation. It is a peace with God that we can begin to experience while we walk this earth, and that we will fully experience when this old world fades away.

When our focus shifts from the cares and concerns of this world to the strength of Jesus, when we allow ourselves to hand over our yokes in exchange for the one He offers, and when we look to Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, we move into that last category of response. The category where the good news of Jesus is held tightly to our hearts. The category where we glorify God with the fruit that we bear. The category which is filled with life and peace.

May your 2013 be filled to the brim with Life and Peace!

For to set the mind on flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. Romans 8:6

3 Comments

Filed under Spiritual thoughts

3 responses to “Peace on Earth

  1. Ginny Hyland

    Well said, Rachel. Thank you.

  2. Jenny Buchholz

    Thanks, Rachel – I’m printing this one out to keep!!

  3. Thank you for the encouragement ladies!

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