As we approach 2023, it is time again for New Year’s resolutions, or as I like to call them, New Year’s commitments. Instead of making a long list, I am focusing on what is essential for spiritual growth and contentment this year. What, in the New Year, do we need to commit to, personally and as a church, in order to flourish as followers of Christ? This year I am narrowing it down even further to one word:
In a world filled with constant turmoil and new conflicts that can arise out of nowhere–an enduring peace that can never be upended is to be treasured. This peace is not an absence of conflict nor a failure to act but a continual experience of God’s peace amid life’s conflicts and challenges. We recently celebrated the one who made this possible, the Prince of Peace. “He came to bring on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests” (Luke 2:14).
We get God’s peace as we rest and trust in him. God is not anxious, worried, or helpless in dealing with all that is wrong in the world. He is perfectly content and at peace. He does not change like shifting shadows. This focus on peace does not mean we avoid conflict or always take the easy road but instead means we fight the spiritual battles necessary for peace to reign. His peace makes us unwilling to settle for false peace and to fight the spiritual battles before us.
Today's anxious world needs believers in Christ exhibiting a non-anxious presence as we live out the gospel. As we worship the one in charge who has perfect peace, we are strengthened to obey him without fear and anxiety. This great hymn ‘In Christ Alone’ encourages us to have the kind of dependence on Christ we need:
"In Christ alone, my hope is found, He is my light, my strength, my song;
this cornerstone, this solid ground, firm through the fiercest drought and storm. What heights of love, what depths of peace, when fears are stilled when strivings cease! My comforter, my all in all, here in the love of Christ I stand."
Who knows what the coming year holds? Triumphs and tragedies, trials and temptations, joys and sorrows - let's trust in him throughout it all. So that whatever occurs, we can stand in the love of Christ with a depth of peace that can endure all things.