Prince of Peace

One of the names given to the Messiah is “Prince of Peace” (Isa. 9:6), and as you stroll through the New Testament it becomes apparent that peace is a hallmark of Gods government provided to us through a covenant in Jesus.


So what is peace, what does it look like, how does it show up?

Many of us (including me) have a default definition that makes peace simply the absence of  turmoil, or perhaps the quiet that follows a relational battle, but the word as used from heaven means much more than this,  peace is much more than the absence of conflict, Biblical peace is NOT defined by a negative, it is intentional and active.

As I am exploring the concepts of honor and covenant, a culture of royalty and treating people in new and powerful ways I am struck by the fact that many believers have a concept of peace that is really just a passive response that is not anger or retaliation, this is not what heaven means when it talks about peace, peace when it shows up is more powerful than war…think about that for a minute, Gods peace is greater than a storm or a war, or a conflict…it must be more powerful than those things in order to displace them.

To often I have heard (and said) “I have a peace about it” or “I HAD a peace about it” referring to decisions and actions that many times as I evaluate the long term significance of those events the result was anything BUT peace…this is typically what modern believers mean when we say “I have peace”.

More often than not as believers who have been trained in a culture of non-confrontation we substitute the absence of conflict, (connected to a posture of passivity), with “peace”…but that is like defining light as the absence of dark, which it is not, light (and peace) are stronger than their opposites and there is never an argument between light and dark when light shows up…darkness simply leaves.

The Hebrew concept of peace is much bigger than even that, the word used is “Shalom” and it means “well being”, “health”, “prosperity”, “security”…so when I look at the times I’ve said “I had a peace about it…” I must  be honest and say that the Hebrew definition was NOT what I felt, what I actually meant was “I do not feel conflicted or in turmoil about this decision”…


But here’s where it gets difficult…the current popular model of peace is that we don’t make waves, we don’t stand up for ourselves because that creates conflict for others and mature people don’t ever cause conflict or controversy…hmmm….the problem is EVERY mature person in the New Testament was controversial in some aspect and created conflict, sometimes just by showing up.

When Jesus cleared the Temple with a home-made whip, or called the religious elites a bunch of fancy looking zombie houses, he was walking in perfect Shalom, He was in fact expressing what Shalom is meant to bring,… “well-being, prosperity, and security:…

Gotta say I am not a fan of confrontation…don’t like it, can’t see how it could be fun, or how it is possible to make others powerful through it, but this is probably because I don’t fully grasp that well-being starts with honesty and ends with hope, if you cannot be honest and must mask your true feelings, true hope, or become a different person than you are in your core, then it is almost impossible for the best version of you to show up.


Peace, at its core, must allow you to show up in the best version of yourself that is available, how can you be at peace when you are not allowed to be you?

As I look at my life I realize I have had  a tendency to allow dominate voices to determine how I respond and which version gets to show up, primarily in the name of “peace”, because we all know that telling the truth means only one side gets to talk, only one of us gets to be hurt/right/powerful/truthful…the other person must be “mature”, “selfless”, “grown-up” etc…

But that’s not “Shalom” kind of peace, that’s “end conflict” peace which is something altogether different than the Peace that Jesus brings.


The peace that Jesus offers us starts with allowing us to be ourselves, and to be powerful in His presence, that’s why worship is so exciting, its not that God needs the attention, it’s the joy He gives us by allowing us to touch His heart, to move Him to tears, to excite Him to passion and respond to our singing and affection towards Him…worship is an act of a powerful person being themselves in voluntary adoration to the object of their affection…someone so worthy and loving you cannot help yourself.


When the Bible says “And the increase of His government of peace there shall be no end…(Isa. 9:7)” it is telling us something about the way the Holy Spirit wants to do church and life and kingdom…God wants peace to increase, His very government is based upon peace, so lets substitute the bigger meaning here, God wants an increase of prosperity, well being, health, soundness, abundance, fruitfulness, wholeness…and the best version of YOU that is possible…THAT is the definition of Gods agenda, His plan and what peace looks like.


Lets take it a step further, Gods government as expressed through the laughing Holy Spirit, for you…is you get to be the person you are in your core, you get to live a powerful life of freedom, to always be yourself, you get to be whole and dream and follow after your dreams with complete support at all times from Heaven and you get to do it with the people you love…that’s what Shalom means for you…


That is quite a bit different from “I have a peace about it”…


So this makes me ask the question: “If the definition of peace is so extravagant, then how come when I have made decisions in the past based on my old “peace” model, God didn’t intervene, or at minimum show up and warn me that I was simply being passive and not actually walking in the intentional peace from heaven?”


Good question, it’s the kind of question I asked God myself and here’s the limited answer I think I heard:


I felt the Lord tell me “I can only give you, what you are willing to receive”…


We know that God is not willing that any should perish, yet every day people perish without choosing to know Him, or choosing something altogether different than the salvation He has provided, so God is all powerful and has an obvious will to do good for all men, yet He has limited Himself to our decisions and our freedom to choose, He will not violate what our wills engage in…


Think about that, God who is all powerful, all wise, all good, has limited His power, His goodness, His gifts and wisdom, and subjugated that aspect of who He is to our willingness to receive it.


And if we are unwilling to accept a peace that is bigger than simply a lack of conflict, He will not impose it upon us, He will not violate our decisions or even our desires…


And since He is always good, always seeking our best, then He chooses to use the limited definition of peace to the very best that He can, at least until we are willing to embrace a higher definition and really…the heart of it all…a deeper relationship with Him so that we can enjoy a greater more abundant kind of peace…


See the Shalom kind of peace that makes me powerful, only comes out of a relationship with the “Prince” of peace, and as I choose to trust Him, to explore the potential He has for me by becoming vulnerable to Him and others, I become a candidate for the bigger kind of peace that excels just passivity…as I trust Him, I can approach others based out my identity in Him rather than how they perceive or project on me, I can become honest and transparent and at the same time can hopefully expect that others will share in the best version of themselves as we explore our potential together.


Peace is not the absence of conflict it is the solution to it, that is why Jesus did not hesitate to drive out and confront illegal passions and detrimental behavior, He knows that the peace he brings replaces the mask and fake identity that dominating persona’s imposes on those who simply want wholeness but have not a clue how to get it.


So Kingdom peace offers us wholeness, hope, and a restful repose in our truest identity, unfortunately it will require a willingness to be honest, and stepping out into a more powerful version of ourselves than we are used to experiencing…this sounds like the opposite of peace…but its not, its simply the opposite of passivity, it is becoming powerful and free to be ourselves with each other…

This is Kingdom Peace, this is what a government of Peace looks like, this is my newest “current” definition of peace:
 
Powerful people engaging with each other, even through conflict, always free to be themselves, always hopefully pursuing  wholeness, soundness, prosperity and well-being, always growing in relationship with each other through a Royal Prince of Peace who leads us to be the best version of ourselves that heaven dreaming with us allows…

It is quite a bit different than my old model of “I have a peace about it…”

So…

Where do I sign up?