Door Number 1, Or Door Number 2?
Read Matthew Chapter 10
Mt 10:34 “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35 For I have come to turn “ ‘a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law— 36 a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.’
There will never be peace on earth, until Jesus returns to call His brothers home and to rid the earth of all evildoers. We often hear “peace on earth” sort of as a wish list, and the following verse is quoted as the authority in believing that peace on earth is really possible:
Lk 2:13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, 14 “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom His favor rests.”
We quote verse 13 without noticing the caveat mentioned in verse 14. Peace on earth will come only to “men on whom His favor rests.” Now that we have looked at that, let’s see something else which is a bit different. Peace and favor seem to be two separate things. God has bestowed favor upon some men. His favor rests on them. Peace is a separate thing which only comes to those who are the beneficiaries of His favor. There is a reason that the difference is significant. Not all who have God’s favor are living their lives in peace.
That does not mean that there are some Christians upon whom God’s favor has not come. It means that Christians have the possibility of having peace, while the rest of the world cannot and will never have peace. There is absolutely no peace for those who oppose God and fail to believe in His Son. Now that we have painted this picture, let’s see the reasons why peace seems to escape many Christians. Of course, we will explore that from the standpoint of SSA men and women.
- Some are not sure of their salvation. I suffered from this torment for many, many years. It was difficult to overcome early childhood ideas of a God who was waiting to see if we deserved His salvation, His favor. That’s really not anything we should worry about. If we are aware that we have a problem with SSA, and that it must be conquered, not embraced, we can be sure that His Holy Spirit is the reason we understand that truth.
- Christians are often beset with a huge load of anxiety. I can identify with this one as well. I tend to worry a lot about my children and grandchildren, those men I have mentored who have walked away from God, financial concerns, etc. When I am beat down by those things, I lose my peace. This is also unnecessary. We have every reason to trust that God is by our side and will not allow anything to defeat us. Whatever problems come our way have been approved by Him. I need to turn all my worries and concerns over to Him.
- SSA men and women often spend time looking back at “Egypt” and longing to return there. If they don’t long to return, there is often sadness, a depression, because of the knowledge that returning isn’t an option. We can be pretty stupid sometimes. As long as we continue to miss our old life, naturally we will not be at peace. We must abandon that life, and also abandon our propensity to dwell on it in our thought life.
- People are lax in the idea of thanksgiving. We spend so much time dwelling on what God HASN’T done for us, we block out all the many blessings He has bestowed upon us. Who can have peace when we are always unhappy over things we lack, instead of being thankful for what we have?
We have the ability to choose peace, or choose a lack of peace. We can learn and trust in God’s word to overcome the first and second items on this list. Number 3 at times seems not to be something of our choosing, but it always is. We must learn to push aside our thoughts about same-sex attractions, and replace those thoughts with the promises of a better life to come. Our better life is a sure thing, whereas our old life carries no such promise; in fact, it promises the opposite. Item number 4 also requires work on our part. It takes a lot of spiritual discipline to think more about our blessings than we think about blessings yet to be received.
We are so very blessed! The Lord has bestowed His favor upon us. His favor remains on us forever; it is not fleeting or tentative. It is a sure thing. But peace is ours only if we choose to exercise our faith, working out our salvation, and growing in spiritual maturity. We can have peace or choose to eschew it. We are the only people on earth who have the ability to have peace.
Prayer: Oh Lord, how we fret and stew unnecessarily! I’ve done it over and over, instead of trusting, relying, and believing in You and Your promises. Help us to see that we can have peace, any time and all the time. We certainly are not there yet.