My generation came after the end of world war 2 and during the end of the US involvement in the Korean Conflict. After Korea there was generally a time of peace and prosperity in America. We had emerged from this period as a major world power. Later when the government began sending our young men to fight in Vietnam, many in our generation did not see our involvement there as justified. By the late 60’s antiwar protests began along with the equal rights movement.

As a teenager I was impacted by the hippie movement that spread from California to my area in the Midwest. Peace, Love and Freedom were major themes of that time in the hearts and minds of many of us. Songs were written and played on the radio about “A New World Coming.” The Beatles sang on the first world-wide satellite broadcast, “All You Need Is Love.” The time was ripe to question the value of killing one another with the ever increasing effectiveness of modern technology. This was not the first time in history when people became sick of war, but this movement definitely gained greater momentum than those before it.

Sixty years later the dream of a new world full of peace, joy and love has been all but forgotten. Conflict persists among nations, races, cultures, religions, neighborhoods and families. War did not seem to make sense in the 60’s and it still does not make sense today. How can the human race continue to fight in its inherent inclination for self interest but not see that this tendency actually leads to its own self destruction?

Can peace loving people do anything to change this situation?

Well, in my opinion the first thing we must do is to reject the despair that creeps in as we consider these issues. Our God is a god of hope, not despair. (Romans 15:13) In the preceding chapters we have looked at the amazing and important connections between the Hebrew bible, which Christians call the Old Testament, and our New Testament. The Old Testament tells the story of the children of Abraham, who settled in a land to be called Israel. It also tells of the future of the entire world, and how the nations who did not descend from Abraham in a physical sense will later be connected to this same family. This will come about by the life, the ministry, the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, a native of that land.

You may have heard of the greeting used by Jewish people even today. I was told as a boy that “shalom” meant both “hello” and “goodbye” in Hebrew. It is used in a similar way that we say “hello” and “goodbye” today, but the word in Hebrew is literally “peace.” “Shalom” is a way of pronouncing a blessing of health, happiness, safety, prosperity and peace to a friend in both meeting and parting. It is about much more than just the absence of war. It harkens back to the time before sin entered into the world, before paradise was lost. In the garden, Adam and Eve were at peace with God, with one another and with nature. There was no death, no disease, no war.

Outside of the garden, it was only a matter of time until war broke out. Their first born son killed his own brother, and violence continued to increase from that point forward. In the New Testament letter from James, he asks this question:

James 4:1-3
4:1 What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? 2 You want something but don’t get it. You kill and covet, but you cannot have what you want. You quarrel and fight. You do not have, because you do not ask God. 3 When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.

The peace that God promises is one that includes health, happiness, safety and prosperity, but it is a peace that first must begin in the heart. The real source of war is in our struggles for things other than God Himself. Only He can satisfy our most basic needs. Our separation from Him and our resistance to Him will always result in discontent. The Beatles were right when they said all you need is love. Sadly, this knowledge did not save them from the conflict that broke them up. Jesus Christ came to repair the breach between God and humanity. He accomplished this by absorbing all of our sins and putting an end to them on the Cross. Those who trust in His sacrifice for us and trust Him with our lives can take part in that promised peace. Being reconciled to God they also gain the capacity to love in a way that is beyond normal, selfish human love.

The enemy who started the trouble long ago was defeated by Christ on the Cross. Unfortunately he does not seem to realize this and sometimes we do not realize it as well. He continues to mislead people into doubting God and His love for us. He manages to pit us against one another instead of facing our own inner failures. When we do see our own failures he tries to press us into despair instead of trusting in God to heal us and empower us toward victory.

God has provided for us a full suit of armor that we absolutely must utilize in Christ’s victory. We must be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might! We must stand in the Truth, covered with His righteousness, walking in the Good News of peace with God, protected by the shield of faith and the helmet of salvation, holding in hand the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God. Finally it is prayer in the Spirit for one another that holds us together and strong! (Ephesians 6:10-19)

In this current age, many seek to gain peace through compromise. This could be due to a sense of insecurity. With God on our side and within us we are secure. We have nothing to prove and no one to please but Him. His love is one that keeps us in the midst of misunderstanding and disagreement. He loved us when we were His enemies, and He challenges us to love our enemies! How can this be? It is impossible for us, but all things are possible with God!

Jesus gave us a peace that the world could never give. Now He wants to make of us peacemakers, who will be identified as the very children of God! The Peace on earth that was announced at the birth of Jesus begins in us, but it does not end there! In these writings I hope to inspire to you a great vision and a great hope based on the Word of God! Will you participate in it?

Micah 4:3-4:
3 He will judge between many peoples
and will settle disputes for strong nations far and wide.
They will beat their swords into plowshares
and their spears into pruning hooks.
Nation will not take up sword against nation,
nor will they train for war anymore.
4 Every man will sit under his own vine
and under his own fig tree,
and no one will make them afraid,
for the LORD Almighty has spoken.

A vision of this time that lays ahead of us can and should embolden us in His purpose for us. We are designed by God to be the makers of peace and the light of the world. (Matthew 5:9, 14) Will we answer the call? Will we give ourselves to it?

Paul wrote about this mission in his letter to the Philippians chapter 2, verses 12-16.

12 So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling; 13 for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure. 14 Do all things without grumbling or disputing; 15 that you may prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you appear as lights in the world, 16 holding fast the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I may have cause to glory because I did not run in vain nor toil in vain.