Advent Flow #9 - NAME OF GOD: Our Peace
“For He Himself is our peace, who made both groups into one and broke down the barrier of the dividing wall.”
-Ephesians 2:14 NASB
“The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.”
-Philippians 4:9 NASB
NAME OF GOD: Our Peace
by Anne Ivans
“He himself is Our Peace.” When you read the first verse, you can see that He joined groups and broke down barriers. Earlier in the chapter, Paul discusses how the Gentiles (us), were separated from Christ and excluded from the blessing that was to be for Israel alone. Through Christ, the walls between groups, between races and cultural differences are eliminated. The text also talks about how we were created for good works, therefore we should “walk in them”. I like how it says “walk in them” rather than do them. We are to live there, rather than have a few good works as a sprinkling to our day, like one more item on our “to do” list. It is as if wherever good works are done, there we are….our friends would know where we would be.
The verse from Philippians tells us how to have peace. I love how God makes things so clear and simple. You have learned and received instruction. We even have some visual aids and some mental videos of Jesus’ example… now PRACTICE these things. Not other things. These things. The ones we saw Jesus do. It is not confusing… but we like to make it so… We think our situations are so difficult and complex. Really? Who are we fooling? Practice. I remember listening to the statistics of how much piano practice went into the creation of a concert pianist. If most people practiced that much, they would reach the same level of greatness. I have heard the same for professional athletes. Yes, there is natural gifting, but this accounts for about 3% of the difference between the super star and the really good performer. I think about the things I practice, and I really get better at them! I also don’t get better at the things I don’t practice. I practiced not eating candy after Halloween, and every time I passed it in the grocery store, I got a little better at not buying it.
I am going to practice peaceable responses. I am also going to practice silence. It is amazing how powerful silence is, instead of the witty and snide comments I think. With more practice, I predict I will think more peaceful thoughts more often.
When we have the Creator of the Universe as Our Peace, think of the power we have! Christmas time is not traditionally associated with peacefulness, but consider a winter’s night after a snow fall. Consider a clear cold night, where the stars are magnificent. If you haven’t star-gazed on a cold winter’s night, I suggest it this year. Our kids loved bundling up in throws from the couch and going out on the back deck to look up in the heavens. It is a great place to discuss the Christmas story.
Lastly, He is OUR Peace. We are meant to enjoy the Peace of God, the Peace that IS God, together. He called us to celebrate the Peace that passes all understanding. As we live our days this Christmas season, let’s make the effort to see the peaceful and calm wonder. Underneath all the crazy hustle and bustle, find that undercurrent of cool refreshment, and breath it in deeply.
Will doing “that activity” or saying “that thought” increase or decrease your peaceful nature?
When you are with extended family this season, how can you share that God is Your Peace?
Are there activities that you can incorporate into your day, this season, to reduce stress and increase your peacefulness?
Ultimate Challenge: Peacefully and joyfully get through parking at the Mall or bad traffic. Thank and praise God for your practice time.