There is an old joke about the response a beauty pageant contestant gave to a question concerning the population of a foreign country. When asked, “What is the population of the Philippines, more or less?”, her response was, “More.” When everyone laughed at that, she quickly replied, “Less.” (Please know that no offense is intended to any beauty pageant contestants who may come across this devotional!) I thought of that joke because I was thinking of the classic question all contestants receive – “If you were in charge of the world, what would you do to bring about world peace?” That’s a solid question because it’s a real concern. And as you know, there are all kinds of well-meaning, and not-so-well meaning, people in power who give us answers every day about how we can have peace with each other. Hardly any of them, and perhaps none of them, ever suggest the answer Jesus does in John 20:19-21.

As we learned in the weekend message, we are the strategy God has crafted to fulfill His mission. And what is His mission? Among other things it is to teach the world they can have peace with God (Rom. 5:1-2), the peace of God (Phil 4:6-7), and then peace with others who belong to Him through faith (Eph. 2:14), but only through the scars of Jesus. And as such, if we were ever to find ourselves asked what we would do to bring about world peace, our response must be, “I’d tell everyone to be reconciled to God through the cross of Christ.” (Now you may choose to use less religious language than this, but the point is still the point.)

I believe the two greatest challenges we missionaries face are to practice the peace we are to offer people and then to actually offer it! And I get it. Those are my “opportunity areas,” too. So how do we live in the peace of God? We constantly remind ourselves that we are at peace with Him through our faith in Christ. We are no longer His enemies (Rom. 5:9-11). We have been reconciled to Him (2 Cor. 5:18). There is no substitute for spending time with these truths.

But then, how do we live with the peace of God? We spend time in prayer, giving thanks to Him for all He’s done and giving our worries over to Him (Phil. 4:6-7; 1 Peter 5:7). Also, we don’t let ourselves feel guilty for not being worried. This can be exceedingly difficult to do, can it not? But, it is a good thing to not be worried because it means we are trusting God with the affairs of our lives!

As we live this way, people who don’t will take note. And that’s when the opportunity to tell them about the source of our peace comes in. Until then, remind yourself to pray for those you see the most, and who don’t know the peace of God. There is no pressure on us to share that there is peace through scars. God will set it all up. But let’s continue to encourage each other to ask for those appointments and to take advantage of them as He provides.

Scott Smith
Connections and Growth Pastor

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