Just before the first Christmas, the angels announced to the shepherds as they were joined by a vast heavenly host praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased!” The shepherds set out to find and behold the Messiah. Their pursuit is the glorious pursuit. Discovering the Messiah personally is not only to be a priority, but it is the only way to peace in our personal lives and on this earth.
Continuing in Luke 2, Simeon prophesied that the promised Messiah had come. Upon seeing Jesus, he said, “I have seen your salvation which You have prepared for all people. He is a light to reveal God to the nations, for He is the glory of your people.” He went on to say, “Jesus has been sent as a sign from God, but many will oppose Him.” And they do. They also oppose those who are dedicated to following Him, hindering the progress toward peace.
I call your attention to the phrase and the promise of the angels that “there will be peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased.” Jesus does only those things that please the Father. It is in Christ that we are divinely enabled through the redemptive plan of God to become the person and individuals we were created to be. Christ is the expressed image of God; in Him the fullness of the Godhead dwells. Christ in us is the hope of God’s glory revealed to us and through us. He is the revelation of the Creator who made us in His image and who is our personal heavenly Father. He alone is the shelter from the storm, the one in whose shadow we must live and abide. He is the Good Shepherd directing our steps in the most troubling times. He is the ever-living Lord and Savior, the only hope through which this world can be truly blessed and find peace.
We are created in God’s image. In the truest sense we are also granted by His divine enabling the grace, wisdom, and ability to discover and create what is needed, what is wanted, what is meaningful, and that which blesses us and blesses others. Everything we need is available to us through Him to use for our benefit and share with others. We are blessed to bless. Blessing others blesses God and blesses us in the most personal and meaningful way.
The peace Jesus offers, which is not the false hope offered by the world, comes through a personal relationship with Him. This leads to a meaningful, God-centered life. Peace through a personal relationship with Him, then a meaningful God-centered relationship with our spouse, family, community and beyond. We are to live as His family—a holy nation, a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, over comers in this life, continually releasing His glorious light and love to a world in darkness, defeat, and desperate for hope. We are called and set apart to reveal Him in all of His glory. We do this by becoming salt and light. Salt adds flavor to every aspect of life and preserves that which is precious. Light reveals both the error of our ways and the right ways in which we are to walk. We put our individual light on a lamp stand, refusing to hide it under any covering of compromise, conformity, or lifeless religious traditions.
In answer to the Lord’s prayer, we seek to become first one with the Father and then one with each other—perfected in the unity of the Spirit in a bond of peace so that the world will know we are His disciples because of our love for God, one another and all people, whether they claim to be friends or enemies. Paul’s great promise was, “My God (the one and only living God) shall supply all of your needs according to His riches in glory.” This same God must become your God—your personal God, Father and Friend. He will meet all of your needs according to His riches in glory and enable all of us to have more than enough to help meet the needs of others. When we join the life and love of God in each of our individual lives, together with others in spiritual unity as His body of believers, we then become the city set on a hill that cannot and will not be hidden. He is the hope of the world, revealed through the family of faith who walk yielded to and filled to overflowing with the Holy Spirit. As those created in His image and living as faithful stewards of all He has entrusted to our oversight, we can also be creative and discover the way to meet every challenge and need through the riches in Christ which He has lavishly poured on each of us as His children and those who have been redeemed—not by silver or gold, but with the precious blood of the Lamb slain before the very foundation of the world.
We must not allow any worldly source to be accepted as the answer or solution to humanity’s problems. Effective government must be under God, or it will make slaves of the citizens—ultimately bringing everyone down. It is not our hope—God is! We don’t need to make the Pharisees’ mistake of asking Jesus to become our political leader simply because He could turn gravel into gold and pay the national debt. He refused to do it when He was on earth, and He refuses to do it now. He wants to do all that is needed through those He created to live their lives pleasing Him, sharing peace on earth, revealing and releasing the only power that can bring peace within and on this planet through those with whom God is pleased—those who are submitted to His will, loving Him with all their heart and their neighbors as themselves. This is His family through whom He blesses people around the world as they faithfully make disciples in every nation. We are not referring merely to religious folks or church members, but children of the living God who have been born again into a personal relationship with a heavenly Father. They do not only attend church, but have actually become the church.
God’s people can help create and discover the answer to every problem when He is first, foremost, and our personal Father, the Creator of all things. By plugging in to the ultimate source of power and creative energy, those created in God’s image can refine slimy oil and power much of the world, capture lightening in a bottle, and release previously untapped energy to the benefit of all. We can light up the city, the nation, the continent, and the earth. Man created in the image of God can take sand and turn it into billions (even trillions) of dollars in revenue, opportunity, jobs, and blessings for billions of people by creating microchips, fiber optics, and other remarkable technologies – all by using something insignificant like sand. Who would have imagined? God would. God did!
We think people are really smart because they make light bulbs, microchips, jet engines, and rockets out of “stuff.” Well, God made the stuff. Mankind did not move out of the Stone Age because we ran out of stones! People didn’t start traveling on jets because we ran out of buses. Man created in the image of God found an even better way to travel. America has fewer jobs because we left our first job assignment: to love God with all our heart, mind, soul, and strength, and to love our neighbors as ourselves.
If America will again look to the hills “from whence cometh our help” and stop looking to the Hill, look to God not “gov,” and again, as our currency implies, trust God, not mere men or the federal government; we will see our needs met by Paul’s God who will be our God and “meet all of our needs according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.”
In the creative brilliance God planted in us, we can find many things more useful and effective. We have the ability to explore, discover, and create. The same is true for every need we face. Free human beings in free societies will be able to continue finding solutions as they have throughout history. Believing this is an act of faith, but it is a very rational faith in the most reliable source in the Universe, and that is Almighty God. We are mere humans who do consume in order to live, but we have a spark of creative potential planted in us by God to create because it was given to us by the Creator of heaven and earth. As long as we enjoy and protect the freedom to exercise our God-given creativity and to take seriously our call as stewards to oversee the earth, we need not fear we will exhaust the earth’s resources. God is not the author of fear or lack; He is the source in whom we trust, and His perfect love and our trust in Him cast out all fear. This is real peace.
As we joyfully and compassionately meet the needs of others, God and others—yes, others included—will joyfully help meet our needs. No man is an island unto himself. If you live to bless others and have a servant’s heart, people will compete to hire you. Even if you think you are overlooked, trust God—for He will never leave you or let you down. That’s not my promise—that’s His promise.