Enemies of Peace
One of the promises of Christmas is peace. Right after Jesus was born, angels appeared to a group of shepherds and announced that Jesus would bring peace on earth and goodwill toward men. The Bible promises those of us that are followers of Christ that we will have a “peace that surpasses all understanding.” Jesus was called the Prince of Peace…yet for many of us, if we are honest, peace eludes us this Christmas. We wouldn’t describe our life as “peaceful.”
Isaiah 32:17 gives a perfect description of peace:
And this righteousness will bring peace. Yes, it will bring quietness and confidence forever.
A simple definition of Godly peace is a quietness of heart and a confidence in God. That is peace. But every single day, in your life and in mine there will be forces that try to rob you of peace. There are enemies of peace in each of our lives.
1. Unmet Expectations
For many of us, we had a vision for our life, our marriage, our career, a relationship…and the vision that we had and the reality that we live in are worlds apart. We live with unmet expectations. You expected to graduate by now. You expected to be out of debt by now. You expected to be married by now. You are married and you expected to be pregnant by now. You never expected to get divorced. You thought he’d apologize. You thought she’d forgive. You thought he would never leave. You thought she’d never lie to you.
Unmet expectations are the enemy to quietness and confidence. They seek to reek havoc and bring trouble to our hearts and fear to our soul.
2. Unfair Circumstances
Maybe this Christmas, you find yourself the victim of unfair circumstances. You were the faithful spouse. You were the loving husband. You were the generous person that got taken advantage of. You were the health nut blindsided by a doctor’s visit. You were the loyal friend. You were the dedicated employee. You were the forgiving sister. You were the olive-branch extending son or daughter. You did nothing to deserve or earn the circumstances you currently have to deal with.
When you are faithful to God and then you find yourself in a situation in which it feels like He hasn’t been faithful to you, it is easy to lose confidence. We lose confidence in His goodness and His character. It is easy to allow peace to evaporate.
There will be circumstances in our life that make it seem like the world has overcome you…but Jesus says, “Take heart, I have overcome the world.”
3. Unresolved Conflict
Ever been in a place where it felt easier to give up on a relationship than to fight for it? Resignation is the place where peace goes to die. It is easier to quit than to resolve conflict. You thought that ignoring the conflict would make it go away. You bought the lie that time heals all wounds. But time doesn’t heal all wounds…time only enables us to live out of our woundedness.
We can pretend things are okay when we go home for Christmas. We can pretend things are okay with our ex-spouse when we really haven’t forgiven. We can act like don’t have an issue with our sister or our dad, but we know its there. We can pretend. Pretending will never bring peace.