19 For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, 20 and
through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in
heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.
I used to have a t-shirt in the 90s that read “NO JESUS, NO PEACE,
KNOW JESUS, KNOW PEACE”. It was and is a suble reminder that true
peace only comes from being in relationship with God through Jesus.
Peace is a word that is bandied around a lot, but for the Christian
peace really should be one of the key ideas to meditate and think on.
The story of our faith is a story of a great conflict that exists
between God and man. We and God are two opposing forces unreconciled.
Ironically, one side of this conflict has the ability to crush the
other side out of existence. Even more ironic is the weaker side
thinks they have have the ability to deny that the greater side even
exists. Yet, in all this irony, there is peace. There is peace because
God our great Father chose to reconcile us back to himself. He did it
through sacrifice. He did it by offering up the life of His son Jesus
so that God himself would no longer have to view man in conflict.
How do you view God? Do you see God as a great enemy of man? Do you
see Him as an eternal punisher who will bust you down if you do wrong?
If so, you don’t see Him through Jesus, and until you do see Him
through Jesus, you will never know peace.
Father, our great God in Heaven! Thank you that you do not war
against us. Thank you for forgiving our arrogance and our self-pride
and making peace through the offering of your Son. Father help us
understand your love and empower us to be peacemakers in the way you
are. Thank you Lord Jesus for your sacrifice and love. We offer you
1 What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you? 2 You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have, because you do not ask. 3 You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions.
These verses really make an interesting observation about the human condition. James is teaching here that much of the strife we face in this life is do to discontentment that arises from pursing the “stuff” of this world. His contention is that our passions and desires for earthly things create in us covetousness and we end up looking at others as people who have the stuff we don’t or as people who are beneath us because of they lack the stuff we have. James also points out that even though the Father is poised to give us everything we ask for we fail to ask Him or we ask Him with motives that are selfish or tied to our own earthly desires, therefore we do not receive.
For me these verses are a renewed call to battle the flesh and the sinful earthly desires that it generates. We live in a culture that measures success by what we can obtain and possess, but the Scripture never endorses this type of life style. The Scriptures teach us that God alone is our inheritance and reconciliation and relationship with Him is the goal. For us saved by Jesus, the challenge is to find contentment in that reality, not worrying about money, food, or clothing because our relationship with God promises peace in provision in all circumstances.
Heavenly Father, I pray for your peace and for freedom from chasing after stuff or status. Forgive me where my own desires have muddled the contentment and peace that you have provided me. Help me rest better in that reality today. In Jesus name. Amen.