Monday, November 3, 2008

Peace and Joy

The Christmas season is soon upon us. Soon there will be well-wishes of peace, joy and similar greetings.

Peace and Joy. A nice greeting, but what does it really mean? What does it really take to have peace and joy?

Many people think of 'world peace'. Who doesn't want that? But isn't world peace wishful thinking, especially when many of us can't even attain perpetual peace on a personal level? It seems there are always an abundance of relational conflicts. There are also those internal, nagging conflicts that are ever-present. Is it ever possible to arrive at peace (at least internally)?

Joy might seem like a far away, abstract idea, too. We're more familiar with desiring happiness than joy. And most of the things we pursue bring only short-lived happinesses. I wonder if a better description of joy is, not an excited feeling, but a state of constant contentment, regardless of the ups and downs of life.

Why do Peace and Joy Elude Us?
Perhaps something Paul wrote may give us some insight. He said the kingdom of God is "righteousness, peace and joy." Could it be that these are intricately related to one another? Maybe righteousness is a precursor to peace. And maybe peace is a precursor to joy. We often see these as separate qualities. Perhaps Paul is saying that they go hand-in-hand.

Righteousness simply means to be walking rightly with God and others (at least as it depends on us). Do we try to experience peace without being in proper relationship with God or others? Jesus promises peace, not as the world gives -- temporary, shallow -- but real peace that goes beyond understanding and circumstance. However, it doesn't come separate from living rightly with God and our fellow man.

Lasting happiness or joy, then, is a byproduct of peace, but it is indirectly connected back to being right before God and our neighbor.

Are you struggling with a lack of peace in your life? A lack of joy? Consider that any breach on your part in relationships could be a factor. Jesus wants you to live life to the full. Fullness of peace, fullness of joy. Righteousness is the doorway to a life of peace and joy.

Please post a comment below with your thoughts.


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