At this time of the year we turn our minds to the question of peace and the reality of conﬂict. We pursue peace and rightly so, trying to grab it and hoping when we do we can sustain the moment and hold on to it here and now for the beneﬁt of ourselves and those who follow.
We have in the past sent our youth to secure it for ourselves and others. Also, the cost to do this in human terms has been enormous. The alternatives would not bear thinking about. Sadly no sooner is it found in one place and it is then lost somewhere else. But how should we seek peace? Can we pray for it? Yes and no.
One of the reasons for why the sustaining of peace is so illusive is that we tend to try to work at it from the outside in. Controlling the markets, controlling the borders, preventing the speech of those we disagree with and of the imposition of sanctions. There is also the fact that the next generation of society rarely feel the lessons that the previous ones learned. The desire for peace has to be found inside a person ﬁrst.
Rather than go from the outside in we need to go from the inside out. Sadly knowledge is not enough. There was knowledge of the Great War in the people in the 1930s but they still fought the Second Word War. The USA had experience of War in Korea and still went to Vietnam. The Bible consistently speaks of God giving us a new heart if we place our faith in him. The Holy Spirit will come and dwell within us. When this happens we are helped from the inside out. We can be more like Christ and we can appreciate Christ more.
How many of our leaders talk of new spiritual hearts? Plenty of talk of understanding and of economic prosperity but these are all outward components and what we need is an inward one. Christ promises us this. Come to him and you get a new heart. The path to real lasting peace is not a sanction that drops on a nation like a bomb but Grace that comes from a person trusting Christ. This is how we pray for peace properly and receive it from the inside out.