By Emily Glasner, M46 Staff Writer
“Joy is peace dancing and peace is joy at rest.”
— F.B. Meyer
When Christ was born, angels came proclaiming the long-awaited arrival of the Messiah, saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!” (Luke 2:14, ESV). Of course there are many seasons in life where accessing peace does not feel easy. For some, the holidays are their favorite time of the year. For others the holidays can be a time of complex family dynamics triggering old hurts and wounds. For some, they can even be a time of great loneliness. For those who don’t know God, the holidays are often void of meaning.
However for those who know Jesus and have made Him the Lord of their lives, this season along with every other season, can be as the angels declared, a time of peace. This peace mentioned in Luke 2:14 is a promise of Scripture that we can take hold of here and now. Peace is promised to those God is pleased with.
Are We Pleasing to Him?
The Bible gives instruction on how to know if we are pleasing to God. Psalms 147:11 teaches, “…but the Lord takes pleasure in those who fear him, in those who hope in his steadfast love.” Hebrews 11:6 instructs, “And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him” which infers that with faith we please Him!
From these verses we know when we fear God, hope in his steadfast love, have faith, believe God exists and rewards us when we seek him, we can have assurance that God is pleased with us. According to the angels’ announcement, peace is proclaimed for those whom God is pleased with. Let’s look at these examples further by answering some questions that can help us identify where we are at.
Do You Believe That God Exists (Hebrews 11:6)?
When we choose to believe in God, our whole life changes. The entire foundation of our worldview is altered when we believe that there is a higher power who is in charge, is everywhere, knows everything, and cares deeply about our lives personally. Psalm 14 1: says, “The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.” They are corrupt, they do abominable deeds; there is none who does good.” Not believing in God makes us fools. Believing in God is wise and as Romans 1:19-20 explains, natural. It says,
For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.
We are surrounded by evidence of God’s existence. God is real. He is here with us now. He sees you and loves you. God made you. God wants a relationship with you, and if you already have one with Him, let me encourage you… God loves connection with you and only wants your relationship with Him to get better, deeper, and stronger.
Do You Have Faith (Hebrews 11:6)?
Hebrews 11:1-3 defines faith. It says, “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. For by it the people of old received their commendation. By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible.”
According to these verses, faith is confidence in everything that is promised to us in the Bible, and everything we believe about Jesus. We can rest assured of our hope in His saving power that will see us through this life and give us eternal life through faith. How can we understand that everything was made when God spoke? Through faith.
Do You Fear God (Psalm 147:11)?
The Bible gives us key information on how to check if we are fearing the Lord. Proverbs 8:13a says, “The fear of the LORD is hatred of evil.” Every human encounters evil. The Word warns against it over and again. It is sin, destruction, and everything not good and not God. However, when we come across something evil, how do we respond? The above verse teaches that if we fear God, we hate evil. We cannot tolerate, accommodate, or excuse evil. We must hate it. When we do make space for evil, we fear other things, more than God. This doesn’t please Him.
Proverbs 1:7 says, “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.” When we fear the Lord, and are building the foundation for knowledge in our lives, we will welcome wisdom and instruction. Having a receptive heart that is humble to God’s teaching is key in this aspect of living in peace.
Do You Hope in His Steadfast Love (Psalm 147:11)?
Lamentations 3:22-24 says, “The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.’The LORD is my portion,’ says my soul, ‘therefore I will hope in him.’” Where is your hope in life? Is it in some earthly pursuit? A raise? A relationship? The completion of a difficult challenge? These can all be excellent and exciting parts of life and the fulfillment of promises from God to us. God promises good things for us and wants good things for us in life (Jeremiah 29:11). It is right to have hope for good things to happen!
I know no matter what is going on and because suffering is a real part of life, our foundational hope as Christians is in God’s steadfast love. This makes sense because nothing can compare with the love of God! Why do we put our hope in His steadfast love? Psalm 130:7 teaches, “O Israel, hope in the LORD! For with the LORD there is steadfast love, and with him is plentiful redemption.” We hope in His steadfast love because His love is steadfast!
Do You Believe He Rewards Those Who Seek Him (Hebrews 11:6)?
Do you seek God? If so, you can have confidence that He will reward you! Jeremiah 29:13 says, “You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.” What greater reward could we have than finding God? However, our God whose love is steadfast is abundantly generous. Baker’s Evangelical Dictionary of the Bible explains further that,
While [the Bible is] emphasizing the future rewards, it is also well to remember that there are many good results that come to the faithful believer in this life, things that can be called “rewards.” Jesus said that he had come that his own might have life and have it to the full ( John 10:10 ). He also said that if his own would continue to seek first his Father’s kingdom and his righteousness, all the temporal things they needed would be given to them as well ( Matt 6:33 ).
This concept is so important for us to grasp. God is a rewarder! I have witnessed God’s faithful reward and provisions countless times in my life, and know this verse to be true. We can trust God in this.
Peace Among Those with Whom He is Pleased.
“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!” (Luke 2:14).
Is God pleased with us? If He is, we know the angels’ worship of God and proclamation of peace is for us. From the above study we can start walking in this peace right now and all throughout the rest of this holiday season.
As wise people, discerning God’s creation’s proclamation of this truth all around us, we can trust that God exists. As we have confidence and certainty as Christians in alignment with the Bible, we know what we hope for will happen as we walk in faith in Christ. As we keep soft hearts to listen to wisdom and hate evil, we fear God. As we hope in God’s steadfast love, we can rest assured, because His love is steadfast! As we seek Him we can have faith and believe He rewards those who seek Him.
All these things are pleasing to Him.
All these things put us right in place to receive the proclamation of peace among us, the community God is pleased with!
I believe you exist. I have faith in You, Your Son Jesus, and Your Holy Spirit. I believe you are with me now. Please come fill me afresh and baptize me with Your Holy Spirit. Father, help me have a soft heart that listens to Your instructions and wisdom. Purify me so I hate evil, as you hate evil. I want to fear You. You made the universe and you made me. You love me. Your love is steadfast, so I hope in You and Your steadfast love! I’m seeking you now, Father. Help me seek you with my whole heart.
I believe you will reward me. I see the reward of You and Father, you are everything to me, but I know You will also provide for all my needs. Forgive me every place I have not had faith in, hope in, and fear of You. I open my heart now to Your Spirit’s gracious conviction to any area I am not in alignment with what Your Holy Word says is pleasing to You, because I want to please you, because I love you. You are my friend. You are my help. You are my Lord. Help me follow you in submission and surrender.
Now Lord, because I trust in Your Word, I choose to believe that the promise of peace described by the angels announcing Christ’s arrival is a promise for me. By faith, I receive that peace now. I bless you my Lord Jesus, and I receive your blessing. I look forward to this holiday season being full of this peace. Guide me Holy Spirit.
From Bryan: In the midst of experiencing intense, extended, and varied suffering in my life, I have seen God come through for me time and again. For more of my story and my deep process of God’s profound healing at work in my life and family after experiencing financial loss, addiction, divorce, and murder, check out my book, More Than Gold (https://m46ministries.com/books/more-than-gold/). If you are experiencing anything described in this blog, the testimony of Jesus’ real and miraculous power in my family’s life will give you hope and peace.