Peace is a precious commodity. Why do I say that? Because so much takes our peace away:
- Waiting for the test results to come back
- Facing mom or dad or the boss when I’ve done something stupid
- Speaking in front of people
- Wondering what people think of me and if my friends are really my friends
- Getting dumped by my boyfriend or girlfriend
- Having to dump my boyfriend or girlfriend
- Having a crush on someone that we know we have no chance with
- Trying to figure out what I’m supposed to do with my life
- Trying to figure out how to make my hair do whatever it’s supposed to do
- Facing coach after a bad game
- Dealing with thoughts that I know are wrong but I can’t seem to get rid of them
- Trying to please God, but I keep screwing it up
Peace is precious, because sin is so prevalent. Peace is precious because so much takes it away. Peace is precious because in this world of sin and the resulting guilt and shame, peace is so very, very scarce.
So the world comes along with a peace of its own kind. This is the peace that says the only way to get peace is to do what makes you feel better. So what do we get as a result: overeating, self-harm, addiction, we go into financial debt, we overmedicate. Why are so many people getting smacked out on pain killers and heroine? One very likely reason is this: it dulls the pain.
Is what the world offers you a solution? Does the world offer you peace?
The Hebrews have a really neat word for “peace.” It’s “shalom”. It’s a very popular word. If you go to Jerusalem today you would probably hear shalom said a lot. In fact, it’s often used like a greeting, “Shalom.” “Peace, man.” But shalom isn’t just peace like “take it easy, bro.” Shalom is putting the last piece into the puzzle. Shalom is being made whole again. Shalom is being complete—a wish for everything to be right and sound within you and in your life. Shalom is the soul put back together.
“I do not give to you as the world gives,” Jesus says. What does the world give? The world gives nothing. It only takes. Its solutions take away from you, they steal from you. They steal your innocence. They steal your confidence. They steal your purity. They steal your happiness. They steal your life. They steal your soul. The world’s peace, whatever it is, comes at the terrible price of your soul. It’s why there are thousands of people looking for peace. It’s why people go from one thing to the next only to be disappointed, only to be let down, only to find their soul harmed. The world doesn’t give peace. The world takes it away.
“I do not give to you as the world gives,” Jesus says. Jesus doesn’t steal. Jesus doesn’t harm. Jesus gives peace. Shalom. Jesus takes the wreckage of my soul and your soul and he binds it all up in his love. His love which he poured out to us on the cross. His love which he shares with us whenever we eat his body and drink his blood. His love which pays for the guilt, takes the shame away. And puts us back together again.
And there’s only one source for this peace: his word. Jesus is our teacher. We are his students. He gives us this word to teach us about his great love, so that we would have a peace so great, so deep, so precious, that this world would never take it away.
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