Is Peace with the World a Reasonable Goal?
Prince of Peace

By now you may have heard about Christian celebrities who have either renounced their faith or are in the process of losing their faith.

The most recent celebrity to do so is Marty Sampson, a lyricist long associated with Hillsong and whose songs many of us have sung in our churches. Sampson wrote:

“I’m genuinely losing my faith, and it doesn’t bother me. Like, what bothers me now is nothing. I am so happy now, so at peace with the world. It’s crazy.”

He has since deleted the comment and qualified it by saying he was “struggling with many parts of the belief system that seem so incoherent with common human morality” and his faith is on “incredibly shaky ground.”

Struggling with doubts and questions is not unusual. Of course, few Christians have the kind of public platforms that people such as Marty Sampson and Josh Harris have.

But as Sampson tries to figure out how to get his spiritual life back on solid ground, it’s worth asking about his goal. Is his goal peace with the world, as he mentioned? Because if it is, then Christianity will never give him what he’s seeking, as these Bible verses attest:

  • Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”
    ~ Romans 12:2 ESV
  • “Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.” ~ James 4:4 ESV
  •  “Do not be surprised, brothers, that the world hates you.”
    ~ I John 3:13 ESV

With growing animosity, our culture has set itself against the God of the Bible. Yes, to the point of hatred, including hatred of those who identify as Christ-followers. Even so, Christians are not to respond with hate in return. We are to love our enemies (Matthew 5:44).

But loving our enemies is not the same as being at peace with the world. For the foundation of a Christian’s faith will always put us at odds with a world system that has declared itself too wise to need God and too independent to be accountable to Him. A world which, at best, mocks our faith and, at worst, kills Christians who profess to belief in the God who sent His Son to die for those who hate Him.

Is Sampson, along with others, willing to obtain peace with the world at the cost of compromising or renouncing his Christian beliefs? Does he understand it’s those beliefs that engendered the hostility to begin with?

What about you and me?

  • Is peace with the world worth losing peace with God (Romans 5:1)?
  • Is acceptance by our culture worth giving up the acceptance we have in Christ (Ephesians 1:6)?
  • And is the temporary approval of the world worth losing our eternal identity in Christ (Galatians 1:10)?

Peace—real peace—is found in a relationship with the Prince of Peace. A relationship with the world apart from Jesus Christ can only provide a poor imitation.

The Christian life is the sum of more than just singing emotional songs and quoting Bible verses. It includes a willingness to endure suffering and the loss of the approval of others. Jesus Christ showed us what that looks like:

“Looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God” (Hebrews 12:2).

Easier said than done? Yes. But not impossible, by the grace of God and the power of the Holy Spirit. Still, the choice is ours to make.

What will you choose?


How Do You Spell Peace?

Four weeks of Advent – four names of the Christ-child from the prophet Isaiah.

“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given,
and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6).

Isaiah called the child Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father. The final name for the One who would restore sinful humanity’s relationship with our holy God is Prince of Peace.

How do you spell peace? What is peace, exactly? Is it the absence of noise? The absence of hostility? The presence of quiet? How much peace does one need? A lot? A little? Do you ever find yourself wishing for more peace?

The problem with wishing for more peace is that it implies peace is a commodity – something we receive in measured amounts. But peace is not a product to be purchased or an item packaged in a bag or box.

Peace is a Person. More than 2,700 years ago, Isaiah wrote of the coming of the Prince of Peace. The Prince of Peace, Jesus Christ, entered this world of sin and discord for one purpose. He came to reconcile us to God – to restore a relationship broken by sin. The Prince of Peace came so we might have peace with God, with ourselves, and with others.

It’s not a matter of having more peace. Either we have it – Him – or we don’t. There’s no continuum moving from little to more to much. So when we find ourselves wishing for more peace, perhaps we should ask ourselves a few questions:

Am I at peace with God?
Have you ever known the peace of being reconciled to God? If not, then celebrate this Christmas by giving yourself the best gift possible – the assurance that you belong to your heavenly Father through the gift of the Prince of Peace.

Am I at peace with myself?
If peace with ourselves is something that’s dependent on our circumstances, then even though we’ve been reconciled to God, we may not be fully benefiting from His peace. Anxiousness, fear, and discouragement are indications that we are viewing God from the perspective of our circumstances instead of viewing our circumstances from God’s perspective.

Am I at peace with others?
Even while we were enemies of God, He gave His Son for us. We probably won’t ever be asked to sacrifice our children for our enemies (aren’t you glad of that?). However, God does ask us to extend mercy to others, to look beyond our own hurts to be His hands and feet and heart to a world that needs to know Him.

Peace – it’s a gift that can only come from the One who is peace. Anything else is a poor imitation. Don’t settle for a piece of peace. This Christmas – and every day of the year – enjoy God’s precious gift of the Prince of Peace.

How do I spell peace? J-E-S-U-S.

Enjoy this final week leading up to the birth of the Prince of Peace!


A Piece of Peace?

There have been times in my life when I wished I had more peace. Ever felt that way…like you know God gives you peace, but sometimes you just don’t have enough?

The problem with wishing for more peace is that it implies peace is a commodity – something we receive in measured amounts. But peace is not a product to be purchased or an item packaged in a bag or box.

Peace is also not merely the absence of violence. It’s not just a lack of noise. And it’s not only freedom from disagreement.

Peace is a Person. More than 2,700 years ago, Isaiah wrote of the coming of One who is the Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6). The Prince of Peace, Jesus Christ, entered this world of sin and discord for one purpose. He came to reconcile us to God – to restore a relationship broken by sin. The Prince of Peace came so we might have peace with God, with ourselves, and with others.

It’s not a matter of having more peace. Either we have itHim – or we don’t. There’s no continuum moving from little to more to much. So when we find ourselves wishing for more peace, perhaps we should ask ourselves a few questions:

Am I at peace with God?
Have you ever known the peace of being reconciled to God? If not, then celebrate this Christmas by giving yourself the best gift possible – the assurance that you belong to your heavenly Father through the gift of the Prince of Peace.

Am I at peace with myself?
If peace with ourselves is something that’s dependent on our circumstances, then even though we’ve been reconciled to God, we may not be fully benefiting from His peace. Anxiousness, fear, and discouragement are indications that we are viewing God from the perspective of our circumstances instead of viewing our circumstances from God’s perspective.

Am I at peace with others?
Even while we were enemies of God, He gave His Son for us. We probably won’t ever be asked to sacrifice our children for our enemies (aren’t you glad of that?). However, God does ask us to extend mercy to others, to look beyond our own hurts to be His hands and feet and heart to a world that needs to know Him.

Peace – it’s a gift that can only come from the One who is peace. Anything else is a poor imitation. Don’t settle for a piece of peace. This Christmas – and every day of the year – enjoy God’s precious gift of the Prince of Peace.

How did you answer these three questions?
Are you content with your answers?