“Peace on Earth.”
That’s a popular phrase this time of year. It’s scriptural. It’s short. It fits nicely on the front of Christmas cards and looks great in gold script. But let’s get real. That phrase, as spiritual as it might sound, isn’t worth the card it’s printed on if it’s not a reality in our lives. Peace on earth doesn’t mean anything to us when our stomachs are in knots over unpaid bills. Peace on earth is just a cliché when our minds are troubled and our lives are in turmoil.
In order for the good news of peace on earth to have real meaning, somehow that peace—the wholeness that Jesus provided for every person’s spirit, soul and body—must become real in our own lives. The question is: How does that happen? Do we ask God to do it for us? Do we just keep begging Him to give us peace and deliver us from our troubles until He finally gives in? Do we just keep pleading with Him on and on to heal, prosper and bless us?
No. Quite frankly, that’s a waste of time. The scriptural fact is—God has already done all He is going to do about our deliverance. As children of God, our heavenly Father has already blessed us “with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ” (Ephesians 1:3, KJV). What we do with those blessings now is completely up to us.
You Have a Determined Enemy
I realise your flesh doesn’t care to hear that. Neither does mine. Our flesh doesn’t like to take responsibility for anything. It would rather wallow around helplessly waiting for Jesus Himself to descend from heaven, pat us on our pitiful heads and say, “There, there, honey. You just sit down, watch television and I’ll take care of all your problems for you.”
But it doesn’t matter how long we cry and moan, or how sad and desperate we act, Jesus is not going to do that for us. God is not moved by circumstances, but there is one thing He is moved by. Faith. God has already sent us His WORD. It’s up to us to put that WORD in our hearts and in our mouths. It’s up to us to believe it and act on it, so its power can work in our lives. “But, Brother Copeland, I just don’t feel like doing that. I’m too busy getting everything ready for Christmas dinner. I’m too tired after shopping and wrapping gifts. I’m too overwhelmed.”
Then get ready for a lifetime of defeat, because you have an enemy who is determined to keep you from ever enjoying peace on this earth. He is totally committed to stealing from you, killing you and destroying you—even at Christmas. His name is the devil, and if you don’t rise up and resist him by faith in The WORD, you will never fully experience the blessings Jesus came to earth to give.
Four Simple Instructions
That may not sound like a very nice thing to say at Christmastime, but it’s the truth. And the best gift I can give you is to tell you what to do about it. So I’m going to share with you some simple but powerful instructions from Isaiah 7. There we find an Old Testament king named Ahaz facing much the same situation we face. Although he was one of God’s covenant people, a king of God’s own nation of Judah, Ahaz was about to be attacked by an enemy who was bent on his destruction.
Naturally speaking, Ahaz didn’t have a chance. The situation was desperate. What did God do for Ahaz in that dark hour? He sent him His WORD through the prophet Isaiah. He gave Ahaz a set of supernatural instructions that, if followed, were divinely guaranteed to bring him victory and peace (verses 3-4, 7, 9).
Look carefully at that passage and you’ll see that in essence, God gave Ahaz three simple commands in Isaiah 7:4 and 9.
- Take heed.
- Be quiet.
- Fear not.
Although all four commands are relevant to us, for now I am going to focus on the first two. I will show you how they can empower you to live a fearless life of overcoming faith—a life in which peace on earth is not the exception but the rule.
1. Take Heed! Notice the very first thing God said was take heed or, in other words, pay attention! What are we supposed to pay attention to? The WORD of God! Maybe you already know what The WORD says. But it’s not enough for us just to know it. We must meditate on it and keep our attention trained on it until revelation arises in our hearts. Then, and only then, will it become real in our lives.
Giving The WORD that kind of undivided attention isn’t easy. It takes determined effort. It requires us to watch diligently over our minds and refuse to give our attention to any thought that is contrary to that WORD. We must choose to think only thoughts that agree with it. You won’t be able to pay attention to The WORD of God if you’re constantly flooding your mind with things that violate it. You can’t bring every thought into captivity when you’re continually feeding on hours of foolish fables on television and reading stacks of what the world calls news.
So, before you can fully pay attention to The WORD, you’ll have to make some decisions. You’ll have to ask yourself, “Am I going to just do what comes easy, or am I going to stand up and be a champion in the things of God?” If you decide to be a champion, you’ll have to turn off some of that trash you’ve been watching and start spending time in The WORD instead.
2. Be Quiet. The second thing the Lord commanded King Ahaz to do was this: Be quiet! Or to put it in blunt, West Texas terms, “Keep your big, blab mouth shut!”Why is it so important for us to be quiet in times of trouble? Because our words have power. They are always working—either for us or against us. Most Christians don’t realize that. So when they hear the good news that God has given them the victory, they ruin everything by talking about their defeats!
Don’t do that! Even if those thoughts are flying through your mind, don’t give voice to them. Just cast them out and agree with God! We have a New Testament example in Luke 1 of a man who should have done that and didn’t. About a year before Jesus was born, Zacharias was tending the altar of incense in the Temple, and an angel of the Lord appeared to him to give him some very good news about the coming birth of Zacharias’ son. If Zacharias had taken heed to the word that had been given him, if he had given it his undivided attention, he might have done all right.
Instead, he focused on the problems in his life. He started thinking about all the reasons why God’s WORD wouldn’t work for him. After all, Elisabeth was barren. On top of that, both she and Zacharias were too old to have children anymore. With those things on his mind, Zacharias opened his mouth and started talking. He interrupted the whole plan of God. Those were the last words Zacharias spoke for nine months. You and I need to learn a lesson from that story. If we can’t say something good, if we haven’t grown spiritually strong enough yet to respond with words of faith, we shouldn’t say anything at all.
Make Your Choice This Christmas
God is not going to do to us what He did to Zacharias. He is not going to force us to be quiet. He doesn’t have to. He has already completed the work of salvation through Jesus. He has fulfilled His promise to mankind. Now He is giving us a choice.
We can either choose life or death. We can choose to believe The WORD or not. We can choose to heed The WORD or focus on our circumstances. We can choose to be quiet about those circumstances or we can yap on and on about how awful they are. It is totally up to us. If we’ll make the right choices and follow God’s instructions, “peace on earth” will become more than a pretty phrase on a Christmas card. It will become a powerful, personal reality in every area of our lives.
Dare to Shine His Light on Peace This Christmas!
- What’s disrupting your peace? Heed The WORD concerning your situation.
- When you’re tempted to speak things like, “I don’t think I’m ever going to get everything done,” or, “I can’t afford to buy gifts this year,” stop yourself before you even start to say them and replace them with the truth in God’s WORD. “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13). “My God supplies all my need according to His riches in glory through Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19).
- Be quiet. Refuse to complain or say anything that contradicts God’s WORD today!
BY KENNETH COPELAND