This time of year, we spend a lot of time thinking about gifts: what we will give our friends and loved ones, what we want to get, and what Christmas is all about – God’s gift of a Savior.
Today I want you to think about another gift – the gift of peace. We talk about peace a lot during the holidays with sayings such as, “Let there be peace on earth.” But I’m talking about peace within us: freedom from anxiety, a quiet spirit, tranquility.
God offers us this kind of peace, yet we often find ourselves lacking it. Why? Because we don’t receive the gift He offers us; instead, we stubbornly try to do things our own way, without involving God at all.
Let’s look at some of the ways we can have peace by following the Scriptures.
Peace with God
The first gift of peace is peace with God, which we must receive before we can receive any of the other gifts. At Christmas we celebrate God sending his Son Jesus to be born of a virgin, to grow up, to live a sinless life, and to be crucified on the cross to take the punishment for our sins. He then rose from the dead, conquering death, the way we will conquer our spiritual death by living eternally with God in heaven.
Receiving this gift of peace with God is simple.
The Bible says in Romans 10:9, that if we will confess (say the same thing that God says) with our mouth the Lord Jesus (God says we need a Savior because we are all sinners and that Savior is his Son Jesus) and believe this in our heart, we will be saved. John 3:16 tells us that this gift is for all, but you must believe and confess your need of a Savior in order to receive the gift of peace with God.
Peace from Sin
Another gift of peace we have is peace from sin. Think about your typical day. You are probably not cheating on your spouse or stealing from Belk, but how many times are you sinning with your anger, resentment, bitterness, or gossiping?
We all sin a lot. We will never be sinless while we are living in our human bodies, but we can reduce the amount of times we sin by filling our minds with the Scriptures.
Psalm 119:165 tells us that, “Great peace have they which love thy law and nothing shall offend them.” I thought that verse meant we won’t be offended by people but, as I studied the wording, I discovered that in the Old Testament, the word “offend” refers to sinning. The temptation to sin paints it as a delightful thing, but the consequences of sin are far from delightful. We can avoid those consequences by not giving in to temptation, and we can avoid temptation by combating it with Scripture. But we have to spend time in God’s Word. That gift is sitting there in the form of your Bible but, if you never open it, you won’t be able to receive the blessings of peace from sin.
Peace of Mind
A third gift of peace we have is peace of mind. The Bible tells us in 2 Timothy 1:7 that God does not give us a spirit of fear, but (a spirit of) power, love, and a sound mind. It reminds us that the fears we feel do not come from God. They are from the devil and come from lies he tells us. The verse also tells us what God gives us: power which in the New Testament means having control over something, love which is agape or unconditional love, such as the way God love us, and a sound mind which speaks of wholeness and clarity.
The gift of peace of mind is something we know exists, but is often hard for us to receive. Receiving it means we have to turn things over to God. Receiving it means we have to admit we cannot do it all; we need help. Yet God invites us to turn our burdens over to him. He tells us that when we lean on him, He will give us rest (Matthew 11:29). He tells us to cast our cares on Him, because He cares for us (1 Peter 5:7). When we do this, we receive God’s gift of peace of mind.
A gift is useless to recipients if they do not open it. God offers us the gift of peace, but this gift is useless if we do not receive it. Have you received the gift of peace with God? If not, will you do so today? If you have, are you receiving His gifts of peace from sin and peace of mind by spending time in His Word and casting your cares on Him? If not, just do it today and receive these wonderful gifts of peace.
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