Summary: We long for peace in our world, in our communities, in our families, and even in our churches. Real peace is a condition of the soul, not our outward circumstances.
We long for peace. We want peace in the Middle East, Europe, and in Korea. We want peace in our land. We are troubled by scenes of people buying gas masks, duct tape, and plastic. We are even more troubled at the sight of a toddler taking out her pacifier to put on a gas mask. We long for peace in our families. We long for peace in our schools and at our places of employment. We long for peace within the Church. We long for the day that Christians can put aside their differences and denominational labels and work together as the Body of Christ. We long for peace.
Long ago a man sought the perfect painting of peace. Not finding one that satisfied, he announced a contest to produce this masterpiece. The challenge stirred the imagination of artists everywhere, and paintings arrived from far and wide. Finally the great day of revelation arrived. The judges uncovered one peaceful scene after another, while the viewers clapped and cheered.
The tensions grew. Only two paintings remained veiled.
As a judge pulled the cover from one, a hush fell over the crowd.
A mirror-smooth lake reflected lacy, green birches under the soft blush of the evening sky. Along the grassy shore, a flock of sheep grazed undisturbed. Surely this was the winner.
The man with the vision uncovered the second painting himself, and the crowd gasped in surprise. Could this be peace?
A tumultuous waterfall cascaded down a rocky precipice; the crowd could almost feel its cold, penetrating spray. Stormy-gray clouds threatened to explode with lightning, wind and rain. In the midst of the thundering noises and bitter chill, a spindly tree clung to the rocks at the edge of the falls. One of its branches reached out in front of the torrential waters as if foolishly seeking to experience its full power.
A little bird had built a nest in the elbow of that branch. Content and undisturbed in her stormy surroundings, she rested on her eggs. With her eyes closed and her wings ready to cover her little ones, she manifested peace that transcends all earthly turmoil.
That is the peace we need. While we should never cease to work for peace in the world, if we have peace in our souls, then we have a gift that can never be taken away.
How do we gain this peace. Paul told the Galatians that it is a fruit of the Holy Spirit. This peace isn’t something we create. The Holy Spirit produces it within us. However, we can look at ourselves and know that this peace exists.
I can have peace in my soul because…
Jesus is my Savior.
Colossians 1:19-24 (NLT)
19For God in all his fullness was pleased to live in Christ, 20and by him God reconciled everything to himself. He made peace with everything in heaven and on earth by means of his blood on the cross. 21This includes you who were once so far away from God. You were his enemies, separated from him by your evil thoughts and actions, 22yet now he has brought you back as his friends. He has done this through his death on the cross in his own human body. As a result, he has brought you into the very presence of God, and you are holy and blameless as you stand before him without a single fault. 23But you must continue to believe this truth and stand in it firmly. Don’t drift away from the assurance you received when you heard the Good News. The Good News has been preached all over the world, and I, Paul, have been appointed by God to proclaim it.
Take a look at verse 21. "This includes you who were once so far away from God. You were his enemies, separated from him by your evil thoughts and actions." Before we knew Jesus we were his enemies. We may not have taken up arms against Jesus and his church, but we were his enemies. Why? Because we serve one of two masters: God or Satan. There are no other choices.
When you encounter Jesus for the first time, you feel everything but peace. Every sin, every evil thought, every resentment, every grudge, every greed, and desire becomes obvious. We feel uncomfortable in his presence. We see ourselves for who we really are.
Now look at verses 19 and 20.
"19For God in all his fullness was pleased to live in Christ, 20and by him God reconciled everything to himself. He made peace with everything in heaven and on earth by means of his blood on the cross."
Jesus is our Savior. He has washed us clean with his blood. We have been made right with God. The relationship has been restored. We have been reconciled to God.