Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Peace Prize?

There has certainly been a lot of discussion and debate about the recent Nobel Peace Prize award. The debate seems to focus primarily on whether or not this year’s recipient, or ‘laureate,’ has the accomplishments, track record, or ‘body of work’ to merit such recognition.
It is not my intention to disparage this year’s laureate, nor am I inclined to join forces with those alleging some ideological agenda on the part of the organization making the award. No, what has gotten my attention is just how silly the world’s whole concept of ‘peace’ really is.
It seems as if most people think that ‘peace’ will overtake the world when we all join hands around campfire and sing Kumbaya together. “Let’s get Obama, Gaddafi, Putin, Kim Jong Il, Hugo Chavez, Netanyahu, Pope Benedict, and Osama Bin Laden to do a group hug and the world will be a better place.”
Do ya think?
I don’t.
As with scientific breakthroughs, shouldn’t major accomplishments in ‘peace’ build on previous ones? Shouldn’t one Nobel Peace Laureate’s work build on another’s so that there is more ‘peace’ or a greater level of ‘peace’ with the combined efforts of the various ‘laureates’ over the years?
Well, since it began, the Nobel Peace Price has been awarded 97 times to individuals and 23 times to organizations. But is there any more ‘peace’ in the world today? Are we living in more ‘peaceful’ times? Have each of those laureates built on the accomplishments of those who went before to gain more and more ‘peace’?
Of course not.
Why? Because the world is looking at the wrong things to attempt to define ‘peace.’ Is it ‘lack of armed conflict’? Is it ‘cooperation between peoples’? Is it ‘working toward common goals’? Is it ‘the elimination of nuclear weapons’? Is it fighting ‘climate change’?
The problem is that the world is looking at circumstances to define ‘peace.’ But ‘peace’ is an inside job, not determined by our circumstances.
‘Peace’ is accomplished by ridding our minds of turmoil, anxiety, hatred, hostility, and fear. Paul tells us that instead we should: Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me—everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you. (Philippians 4:8-9, NLT)
Is that after our circumstances change? No, it is regardless of circumstances, as Paul continues: I have learned how to be content with whatever I have. I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength. (v. 11-13, emphasis added)
And what strikes me the most from Paul’s encouragement are the words: “I have learned.” It took time for Paul (and for us) to learn that true peace comes from training our hearts and minds to trust God with . . . everything.
And ‘everything’ means just that. Anything you can envision that causes you to be anxious, fearful, worried, angry, . . . everything. Trust Him with it and you’ll learn about peace.
Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything.
Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.
Then you will experience God’s peace,
which exceeds anything we can understand.
His peace will guard your hearts and minds
as you live in Christ Jesus
Philippians 4:6-7, NLT
That’s the kind of ‘peace’ that builds and gains momentum. That’s the kind of ‘peace’ that makes a difference. That’s the ‘peace’ that can change lives and make this a better world.
And who should be recognized for bringing about this peace? I believe we can call Him the Prince of Peace.

Today: What is keeping you from experiencing ‘peace’ today? Are you willing to really trust Him with that to start learning the secret to true ‘peace’?

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