An Everlasting Peace

“I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 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.” -Philippians 4:11-12 (NIV)

We would all like to possess eternal happiness. It’s the driving force behind humanity’s utopian aspirations, where a world would be brought into existence where sorrow is absent and joy abounds. Many ideologies have sought utopia only to be dashed by the reality that as long as sin and wickedness persists in the world, a utopia is impossible to achieve by human hands. Thus, our contentment comes to depend on our circumstances. One day we may be elated because something wonderful has happened to us. The next day, we could be mournful because suffering has knocked on our door. It can be painful sometimes to endure this cycle of emotions and we long to find that sense of peace and contentment which will remain with us regardless of our present conditions.

Where then can we find that eternal sense of contentment? It cannot be found in anything of this world. Though we may find temporary solace in the things that this world may offer, it will not deliver on its promises of providing lasting contentment. Sometimes, such remedies will cause more misery than healing. True peace can only be found in Christ. Through His crucifixion and resurrection, He conquered the two sources of suffering in the world; sin and death. Christ, through His blood, has broken the grip sin has held over humanity so that those who believe in His sacrifice may allow Him to dwell in their hearts and begin His redemptive work to clear the remnants of our wickedness. But the sting of death has also been rendered helpless for through His resurrection, Christ has conquered the grave and promises that all who believe in Him will spend eternity with Him in Heaven; the only true utopia. Our whole perspective on life will change when we view our circumstances in the light of the hope we have through Christ. Will we still feel suffering? Yes. But for those who find rest in Christ, suffering will never be able to oppress us as we allow the peace that only He can give to invade our lives. It begins now!

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.

Bringing About Peace

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God.” -Matthew 5:9 (NIV)

September 1938 was a tense time in Europe. Under Hitler, Nazi Germany had invaded the Sudetenland; an ethnically German region belonging to Czechoslovakia. As the prospect of war loomed across the continent, the British Prime Minister at the time, Neville Chamberlain, met with Hitler in Munich. In keeping with the general rule of appeasement which characterized European foreign policy in the years between 1918 and 1939, Chamberlain returned to Britain with a compromise in hand. Under the terms of the Munich Agreement, Germany was allowed to annex the Sudetenland on the condition that Hitler and the Nazi state would promise to cease their expansionist designs. Chamberlain proclaimed to the cheering British crowds that the agreement had brought “peace for our time”.

However, only a few months later, Hitler completely disregarded the Munich Agreement and invaded the rest of Czechoslovakia in March 1939. At this point Chamberlain, along with the rest of the democracies of Europe, realized the failure of appeasement to check German expansionism and resolved to deal with Hitler by force should the trend continue. When Hitler invaded Poland on September 1st, 1939, Britain and France declared war two days later; triggering a war that, although would be bloodiest in the history of mankind, would also see the destruction and widespread condemnation of fascism and ultra-nationalism.

Often we get confused over what it really means to be a peacemaker. In our minds, a peacemaker is someone who makes sure the peace is achieved through the maintenance of the status quo. As long as we don’t get on anyone’s bad sides, we have done our duty in maintaining peace; even if means ignoring serious issues that lie at the root of the conflicts we have to deal with. But this is not what it means to be a peacemaker. The role of a true peacemaker is to form a lasting peace by tackling the crux of issues; not simply dealing with mere symptoms. Just as how Christ came to redeem the world by addressing the problem of sin, we as His children must also be willing to address the source of the conflicts we have been called to intervene in.

Doing so always comes at a price. In order that the problem of sin may be finally solved and humanity freed from its chains, Christ had to die and rise again. The penalty for sin was death. Only by His willing sacrifice on the cross for all of our transgressions, could that penalty be met. Likewise, to be a true peacemaker we will have to give of our time and energy; continuously opening ourselves emotionally and spiritually in order to speak truth and wisdom even when we are rejected and rebuffed by the very people we want to help. It might not always be the most comfortable and pleasant thing to do, but it is a worthy price to pay for God’s truth and peace to flourish. People will know if we are His children by the way we solve conflicts. Only by staying close to Christ and relying on Him for wisdom, strength, and discernment, can we be the peacemakers He has called us to be.

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.

A Worthwhile Investment

“Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy? Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and your soul will delight in the richest of fare.” -Isaiah 55:2 (NIV)

None of us would waste money on that which is of no benefit to us. We have been taught to conserve our energy and resources for something that is worthwhile and in our best interests in the long run. Whether it is what we eat or the career path we choose to take, we want to be wise in our decisions and make the right choice so that we may live healthy lives and that nothing be done in vain. But though we desire this, we often fall short of them. How often do we frivolously spend our time, money, and energy on that which is corrupt and depraved? How often do we worry and lose sleep obsessing over our careers and plans. Though we think that these will give us satisfaction, they only provide an illusory contentment that will give way to grief and misery.

There is only one way through which we can find true and lasting satisfaction. Man was designed for a relationship with God so that we may dwell in His eternal and unfailing love. However, because of our sinful nature gained as a result of Adam’s disobedience against God, the relationship we formerly shared with Him has been severed. But God does not wish for it to be like this. For this reason He sent Jesus so that through His death and resurrection we may have the hope of being freed from our sin so that we may enter into a relationship with God and bear witness to His goodness. When we allow Christ’s Spirit to enter our hearts and carry out His work of restoration in our lives, we will find joy and peace that nothing on this Earth can match. Investing all that we have by surrendering ourselves to Him, we will find it more than worthwhile as Christ fulfils His perfect will for our lives. He will prove to us His love and faithfulness and by His Spirit give us a lasting satisfaction that will remain constant regardless of our circumstances.

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.