This week we’re studying what it means to be a peacemaker. Psalm 34 gives us specific instruction to seek and pursue peace.

Psalm 34 is categorized as a psalm of praise. David (the author of Psalm 34) praised God for His greatness. He remembered how God answered him and delivered him from all his fears. David recognized all that God had done for him, and instructed others how to trust in and know the Lord. One of these instructions was to pursue peace.

Peace is a common theme in Scripture: Romans 12:18 tells us to live peaceably with all as long as it is in our power; Jesus is called the Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6) and He promises to give His peace to believers, telling us not to be afraid (John 14:27); The sacrifice of Jesus allows us to have peace with God (Romans 5:1); Peace is one of the fruits of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22), something that is evident in the life of a follower of Christ.

Even though God promises to give us peace, why would David, in his psalm, instruct us to seek and pursue it? If peace is something we’re given, why do we have to work for it?

When a country experiences peace, we typically identify that as not being at war, either civil war or war with another nation. It means the citizens of that country are not in a state of unrest or a state of fear. It means those in power are working for the good of those they govern and that the citizens have their needs met.

Political peace doesn’t happen on its own. It’s unnatural for our fallen nature to be at peace, so it is something we have to fight for. We fight for it not only in our countries, but in our relationships, families, communities, and our own hearts. Pursuing peace begins with us. If we desire to see peace in our world, we need to first pursue peace in our own hearts.

Left to my own devices, my mind and heart are rarely at peace. I’m always working hard to check the next thing off my list, making sure I’m doing all that needs to be done. I’m making sure I’ve not forgotten any detail so my life won’t fall apart. I’m working hard to do all the right things. I often believe the lie that my actions and my work—both for the gospel and in general—will provide peace.

When my life is not at peace it is often because I’m not fully believing the Prince of Peace. My efforts to earn God’s love, my efforts to earn respect, admiration, and acceptance from others, keep me from living a life of peace. Instead of trusting in Him, I’m trusting in myself, forfeiting the peace He so freely offers.

In Isaiah 30 God rebuked the Israelites for their unwillingness to trust Him. Verse 15 says “In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and in trust shall be your strength. But you were unwilling…” If that doesn’t describe me I don’t know what does. Instead of accepting the peace the Prince of Peace freely gives me every day, I turn to my own strength. By trusting in myself I forfeit the peace He offers. Not only do I miss out on peace in my own heart, but I fall into a pattern of trusting myself and believing that I don’t need God in any other area of my life.

What would it look like if we really sought peace? This Christmas season, how can you believe the Prince of Peace? What can you practically do to pursue peace? Maybe it’s working through a difficult relationship by taking a step toward forgiveness. Maybe its resting in the truth that you are enough, regardless of what your to-do list looks like.

Philippians 4 offers even more insight and practical tips for how we can pursue peace. Paul tells the Philippians that the peace of God, which surpasses our understanding, guards our hearts. Think about that! God’s peace in fact becomes a shield around us, keeping us from harm. Paul goes on to instruct the Philippians to focus on things that are true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable, excellent, and worthy of praise. By focusing on these things, God’s peace can enter our hearts. Instead of dwelling on all the things I need to accomplish, if I focus on the truth that God loves me and is always working for my good, I can find peace.

He is the Prince of Peace. By seeking peace, we seek Him. Let’s focus on what is true. His peace guards our hearts and lives, and His peace is worth fighting for.


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