This past week, for three consecutive nights, I was awakened in the middle of the night with one word in mind – peace. Each night, there was a different scripture regarding peace that was repeated along with the word. Before I share each of those, I would like to look at peace and exactly what it is. According to Webster’s dictionary, peace is defined as one of three ways:
- a state of tranquility or quiet (tranquility is further defined as the state of being free from agitation of mind or spirit free from disturbance or turmoil)
- freedom from disquieting or oppressive thoughts or emotions
- harmony in personal relations
Taking the liberty to combine these three, one could rationalize the following sentence:
Peace is freedom from disturbing emotions and oppressive thoughts – which has the ability to bring harmony in personal relations.
With that being said, let’s look at the three scriptures that were playing in my head during the nights this week.
You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you! – Isaiah 26:13
I have found this scripture of value multiple times in my life – even to the point of using a label-maker to post it above a monitor I used on a daily basis in a very hectic job position! If you rewrite the verse using the definition from above, you come up with, “You will keep free from disturbing emotions and oppressive thoughts all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you!” Where do you turn when you’re oppressed? When your emotions are disturbed? Where are your thoughts during those times? I was reminded this week to keep my mind on God and what he has done for me (a reminder of this came the following night). When I remember the freedom I have truly been given, peace comes and I have the ability to calm my thoughts and emotions.
Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.- Luke 2:14
It didn’t seem unusual to me to have this in mind when I awoke as we just came through Christmas; however, this one scripture kept me up longer in the middle of the night than the other two would. I have known this scripture in the King James text, such as shared above, likely since before I could read. (I was always the short kid so I was always picked to play a shepherd in the Christmas play as the angels would appear and make this declaration to us and thus we would pick up our cardboard sheep to travel to the manger where the baby doll representing Christ lay!) When Christ came, the angels appeared to proclaim once and for all to all men that we now have freedom from disturbing emotions and oppressive thoughts and can now live in harmony in our relationships. The issue with this is it seems we tend to remember it only once a year and once the season is over we return to those emotions and thoughts that bog us down the rest of the year. The angels declared peace was freely given to and we no longer have to be imprisoned by our emotions and thoughts.
If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.- Romans 12:18
Let’s go ahead and rewrite this one . . . “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live free from the disturbing emotions and oppressive thoughts that separate you and have harmony with everyone.” What a goal to have and to aim for. We should live to be at peace with everyone. The only way that is possible is if we can rid ourselves of the disturbing emotions and oppressive thoughts we have concerning that other person AND they are willing to do or are doing the same. That’s what this verse hinges upon . . . as far as it depends on you. There are going to be some people that cross your path and come into your life that you just can’t live at peace with. They are unwilling to let go of those thoughts and emotions and have to make the decision for themselves to be at peace and, until they do, they won’t have peace with others.
So, if I can possibly combine all three nights and tie up these ramblings, I think it looks something like this . . . Freedom from disturbing emotions and oppressive thoughts was given to us when Christ came. To live in that freedom, we must keep our minds and remind ourselves of this gift we were given. When we do this, it will allow us to reach out to others in that freedom as we push aside the disturbing emotions and oppressive thoughts, even if they’ve been caused by that person, by keeping our mind on God and the freedom we’ve been given that was so undeserved.
Peace to all in the new year. I hope to write more and pray you are blessed and encouraged as this churchboy continues to recover.