TODAY’S SIGNATURE VERSE ••• “Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword.” (Matthew 10:34 NKJV)
PRAISE & PRAYER PROMPT ••• Before I start this morning, I want to tell y’all about such a neat experience I had this week. I got to meet and have lunch with a new friend. Mary has been reading My Grace-Full Life for the last few years, so I’m familiar with her name but didn’t know her. It was so much fun to meet her—I’ve seen her name so many times on my Facebook notifications! I love stuff like that! I also know that I have so many brothers and sisters-in-Christ that I may not get to meet in this lifetime, but one day, we’ll have forever (literally) to catch up! ❤️
So our topic today is based on a post a Christian singer I follow posted… He wrote, “Because I’m a peacemaker & a people person; this is hard for me. I pray for peace and unity- but I’m becoming ok with the fact that not everyone is gonna like me… It’s not my job to convict anyone of anything… I trust the Holy Spirit to do that.” And then, he quoted Jesus’ words recorded in John 15:18-19, “If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you*.” All of this was accompanied by a graphic that said, “If you’re going to be a soul winner, you’re going to have to get delivered from other people’s opinions.”
Our Christian world focuses so much on peace. We want everyone to hold hands in a spirit of global acceptance, and we pray for “peace on earth, good will toward men.” And why not? In Isaiah’s prophecy of the Messiah, He is called “Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6). We’re looking for everyone to get along and a worldwide utopia.
But here’s the truth: Jesus didn’t come to bring peace on earth. Wha-what?!?! But the angels said, “Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!” (Luke 2:14 NKJV). Yeah, they said that. They were also making a birth announcement and praising God. It was a time of celebration! They were delivering the good news of the Messiah’s birth! It was a time to rejoice!
But peace on earth was not Jesus’ mission. Lest you be scandalized that I said such a thing, I didn’t! Jesus did. In Matthew 10:34 NKJV, Jesus said, “Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword.”
Actually — let’s read the whole passage:
“Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword. For I have come to ‘set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law’; and ‘a man’s enemies will be those of his own household.’ He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find it” (Matthew 10:34-39 NKJV).
GULP. This is not a fun passage to read. It goes against the peaceful pacifist image we have of Jesus. It reads like a civil war of humanity. But it’s a reminder that above all things — Jesus is (should be!) first.
So what does that mean for us as Christians? It goes back full circle to accepting that peace — a worldwide utopia — isn’t going to happen by us. It’s all in Scripture. Not only based on the Matthew 10:34-39 passage we just read, but also the verses from John 15:18-19 that the Christian singer posted…. Peace as the world understands it — everyone getting along and global acceptance of everything, including sin — that’s not what we’re called to do. Peace is only found in Jesus Christ. He didn’t say we’d have a peaceful life. He said the exact opposite — “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world” (John 16:33 NJKV).
We will have trials, heartaches, hardships, difficulties, challenges, and pain. But because of what Jesus did — because He is our Savior and Redeemer — through Him, we experience peace of mind, peace of heart, peace of knowing that He is on the throne. Peace of knowing that He has already won.
As riots and hatred have been ongoing for months, I want you to really consider this…. Our world speaks of peace and love, but does this look like peace and love to you? It sure doesn’t to me. And even the greatest act of love ever demonstrated was far from peaceful. We have sanitized versions of the cross, but it was a bloody, horrific, violent way to die. There was nothing peaceful about it.
I don’t have a really powerful way to wrap this up, but I think the singer who posted that was dead-on right. We may want peace, but the only way we’re going to find it is by trusting in the Holy Spirit to do what He does — convict hearts around us, and our job in this is to pray for revival. Pray for people to recognize Jesus as their Savior. And as more and more people place their faith in Him, peace will begin to abound. Internal peace that is everlasting.
Today, as you pray, thank the Holy Spirit for His convictions and work He’s doing. Thank Jesus for the peace He alone can offer. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you understand peace from a heavenly perspective rather than an earthly one. And pray that more people will understand that peace is only through Jesus — and it will never be manufactured by men.
*I wasn’t sure which translation he used, so I replaced it with the NKJV. Side note: I traditionally use the ESV, but I’m really starting to love the NKJV.
SHARING ••• My Grace-Full Life is written by Denise Heidel. You are welcome to share anything I write, but please credit my writing and graphics accordingly. Visit www.MyGraceFullLife.com to read past blogs. Subscribe through my website to have My Grace-Full Life delivered to your email. You can unsubscribe at any time. Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture references are from the ESV translation.