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The Prince of Peace

If you go out and survey a bunch of people on the street and ask them to define for you the term “peace,” most will say that it means to not be at war with someone. In fact, most formal dictionary entries say something like, “peace is the absence of conflict.”  This isn’t wrong, but it isn’t complete either. Imagine that you’ve just come through a bitter divorce and are no longer married to your spouse, but you are both employed in the same office. Despite the divorce, circumstances will not allow for either of you to change employers or work locations.  In such a situation, you may not fight on any given day, or even say a word to one another, but neither will either of you have peace. Instead, you will both be burdened with resentment toward your situation and toward one another. Peace is not just the absence of conflict. It is also necessarily the presence and discipline of harmony.  Harmony is more than just co-existence. Harmony is a pleasing agreement in which two elements work seamlessly together. Now imagine two singers trying to sing the same song, but in different keys, using different rhythms, and with different lyrics. In such a situation, each individual singer may produce exquisitely beautiful music, yet between them there is no harmony – and almost certainly no semblance of agreeable or peaceful music. However, if they plan, practice, and actively work to get all of the necessary elements in agreement, then they will produce a harmonious product that is pleasing to everyone – including themselves.  

When Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden of Eden, they created a terrible and instant conflict with God. Because of that conflict, there fell a cascade of assorted disharmonies. God’s perfect integration of all things was now ruined by a near complete disintegrity. Man was at war with God. Man was at war with other men. Man was at war with himself. Man was at war with woman. Woman was at war with man. Man was at war with beast, and beast with man. Everything was in conflict in some way with everything else, and it was only the grace of God that allowed enough harmony for the world to continue existing without completely eating itself. 

Thankfully, God loved us and did not leave us in that state. He sent us a child who would grow up among us and experience our disharmony firsthand.  He would be called a mighty God and a Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6) because such a messiah would keep those who trusted in him in a state of perfect peace which would surpass all understanding (Isaiah 26:3, Philippians 4:7). He would do this by reconciling us to the one who made us, and from whom we had been separated. There would be a dousing of the conflict, and a cultivation of harmony. The closer you get to that creator by walking in the Spirit of his Prince of Peace, the more harmony you will experience with him and the more peace you will have within yourself and with others. Your life experience will be marked not by religious ritual, knowledge, or posturing, but by genuine love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, and self-control. These will be hallmarks of your identity because they will flow out of the Spirit who inhabits you. But the further away you get from him, the more your life will be marked by strife, anger, division and enmity. These will become the marks of an identity ruled by the flesh at the expense of the Spirit (Galatians 5:16-24).

Thank God, we have a wonderful counselor and an everlasting Father who loves us sacrificially (Isaiah 9:6).

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