“Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful.” (Colossians 3:15)

“Peace, peace, the world cries for peace, yet, no peace is found.” I have heard this statement many times, so many times; I cannot remember where or who first said it. I do know this is a true statement, as, in the world, there is no peace. Some often think if we could stop being involved in wars, then there would be peace. There have in my lifetime been short periods when we were not in a war somewhere. Even so, there was no peace. Peace is not the absence of war; peace’s antonym is the absence of tranquility. I have been in war, and I have been in peaceful times, which some think of as the absence of war, but I have never been in tranquility. In the sixty-plus years, I’ve been in this rodeo called life, I have never found tranquility in the lives around me.

When we look at the conflicts in the world about us that rob our peace, war, crime, different viewpoints, and the list goes on further than I can write. We have to realize that they are outer conflicts that disrupt the inner being of ourselves. We find that we are stressed, angered, confused, which causes our countenance to falter. It is a revolving disorder. The outer events disturb the tranquility of the inner self and the inner self rebels to the outer in poor attitude. If that cycle is not broken it certainly leads to a miserable state of being.

Many people in the world spend much time trying to control the outer world and bring it into a tranquil state. Over the past six thousand years or more of recorded history, their progress has been far less than successful. The law is a system of rule with a consequence for disobedience to the law. The law as a barrier to disorder is only as good as the people it was meant to control. I agree with just law, but there are a lot of folks that walk the borders of law and cross that line when opportunity seems profitable. The problem may be that too many people asses opportunity by what seems right based on what the opportunity profits them. Risk takers are the engine of entrepreneurship. The right or the wrong of the risk they are willing to take is governed by their moral view of right and wrong. Again we see the cycle. The inner destroys the outer which in turn stresses the inner. Then mankind has fallen into a never-ending trap of living out of harmony with the order that ensures peace.

My conclusion is that the lack of peace in the world is a result of the heart of mankind that creates the causes that foster conflict. The list of these causes is endless and has a uniqueness to the heart that has created them. All are born of mankind, being out of harmony with God’s creation as a result of disobedience to His Word. Mankind does not have the nature they were created in but has a resident evil embedded by the sin-nature. Mankind’s sin comes from the desire of worldly pleasures and an overriding want of them. There is a multitude of sins, but they fall into three types. “For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world.” (2 John 2:16)

People do not grasp the complexity of their error and live life in the deception of the adversary of mankind, Satan. I believe that any sensible person can rationalize the correctness of their actions because they lack the foundation of absolute truth. That foundation can only be found in the Word of God, which has always existed before the creation. As a result of mankind’s heart living in twisted truths, they often think their actions are correct. “There is a way which seems right to a man, But its end is the way of death.” (Provers 14:12)

When talking about curing the heart, there are many things that people do to accomplish change. The biggest thing I hear is that to change the heart is to have a strong will to change the heart to what one wants it to be. I admit some people have a powerful will and I also realize I am not one of them. If the will of man was strong enough to do the right, then why after all this time the world is in shape it is or worse? God’s purpose is to restore mankind to its original created state. The problem is the sin-nature all mankind has. The wage of that sin is death. “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 6:23). There is the problem, and there is the answer, Jesus Christ.

God has been calling mankind, and now Jesus is seeking to save the lost. Jesus came and currently, through His disciples is seeking to save the lost. Near to the time of Jesus’ crucifixion, Jesus comforted His disciples with this promise. “Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.” (John 14:27)

As said before, peace is the absence of tranquility. Even as we live in a world that has no peace, by accepting the promise of Jesus we can have peace in our hearts, and we can have tranquility in our lives. We must understand the peace that Jesus is offering that will bring tranquility into our lives. If the wickedness of the heart of mankind causes the lack of peace in the world, then the peace that Jesus gives can bring tranquility to the world around us. What is this peace of soul that the world can see through us that they may want to have?

Jesus is calling. He stands on a corner, holding a sign saying repent for the Kingdom is at hand. He walks around the shopping malls handing out tracks filled with the saving knowledge of His gospel plan of salvation. He teaches from the pulpits across the world, equipping the saints to go and make disciples in every part of the world. He is in the eye of a stranger who offers his hand in the hour of need. Jesus is calling all to salvation in the ministry of reconciliation. “Who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was granted us in Christ Jesus from all eternity.”  (2 Timothy 1:9) When they find themselves in the presence of Jesus they sacrifice themselves to pick up their cross of service and follow Him. “For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps.”  (1 Peter 2:21) Answering this call gives us the peace of purpose.

There is only one way for created mankind to see their Creator, and that way is Jesus. “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life.”  (John 5:24) Death is mankind’s greatest enemy, and Jesus defeated death on the cross for us. He died there and three days later rose from the grave in power that can raise us from the grave also. Through Jesus, we have eternal life in His Kingdom of peace, joy, and love. It is not complicated; there is no price to pay; it is just having faith in what we profess to believe. “That if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.”  (Romans 10:9-10) I have peace because if have no fear of death.

When we follow Jesus, the stress of life has been lifted. Walking the footsteps He has pre-planned for us gives all the confidence we need to forge forward on the path to the Kingdom. The burdens are lifted in the knowledge that He is capable of delivering all of His own to their destination. He can provide all that is needed to accomplish His plan and purpose for our lives. When we walk with Jesus we are always on the right path. “Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. “For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”  (Matthew 11:29-30) We have peace, as nothing can stand between us and our Savior who loves us eternally.

Jesus leads nowhere that He hasn’t been, anywhere that He hasn’t conquered, and nowhere that we should not be, as He is there with us. Jesus leads us on that narrow path that has no room for error, has no side passages, and has no other destination than the Kingdom of God.  Jesus came from that Kingdom; He walked the path through here. He overcame the world by His perfection and returned to the Kingdom. “These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.”  (John 16:33) Jesus is the only way. “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.” (John 14:6)

If we would allow Jesus to enlighten our hearts with His truth, revive our spirits to seek the higher eternal things, and sit on the throne of our life, then there would be incomprehensible peace in our hearts bringing tranquility to the world around us. Will it ever be perfect, no. We are on a journey to a far off place none here have ever seen. A place of righteousness, justice, joy, and eternal peace. Come and follow Jesus. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.”  (Galatians 5:22)

Thomas N Kirkpatrick

First Baptist Church of Durant, October 23, 2019

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