“Now may the Lord of Peace Himself give you Peace at All Times and in Every Way” (2Thess.3:16)
Greetings Friends the world over!
My topic for this post is peace! What is peace? It means different things to different people. Essentially, peace is the fruit of conciliation. It means that a state of separation exists between two parties and an act of appeasement is necessary to restore harmony and goodwill. Ever since mankind has walked this earth, there has been no peace. Instead, if anything, people have lived in dissent with each other. They have acted aggressively and taken what belongs to others by force of will – lands, riches, slaves, and seeking to be dominant over another, where we have the conqueror and the conquered. Yes, man have taken the extreme position to peace, which is hatred. Nations have engaged in wars with other nations for the same ulterior motives, but more for dominant nationalistic ends.
The Bible says “There is none righteous, not even one…And the path of peace they have not known. There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands; there is no one who seeks God. All have turned away, they have together become worthless. Their throats are open graves; their tongues practice deceit. The poison of vipers is on their lips. Their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness. Their feet are swift to shed blood; ruin and misery mark their ways, and the way of peace they do not know. There is no fear of God before their eyes” (Rom.3:10-18). Peace is more than the absence of conflicts and wars, neither is it a truce agreed upon between two parties. A truce is not peace, it is an agreement that’s made to be broken because of man’s fallen nature.
Many are unaware why peace seems unattainable and continues to be a distant undertaking, let alone how it can be achieved. All the unpeaceful conditions we see in our world today, as it has been in human history, arises out of one fundamental reason. Yes, all the acts of man has been inspired by the wrong use of a divine gift given at creation. Regrettably man has taken this wonderful gift and turned it into a weapon of fear, conflict, and domination.
Animated Peace Dove with Olive Leaf (Wiki Commons)
What is this gift the Creator gave man in the beginning, which man has turned into an instrument of aggression? This is what God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them” (Gen.1:26-27,KJV). The Psalmist said, “You made him to have dominion over the works of Your hands; You have put all things under his feet: All sheep and oxen, yea, and the beasts of the field; The fowl of the air, and the fish of the sea, and whatsoever passes through the paths of the seas. O LORD our Lord, how excellent is Your name in all the earth” (Psa.8:6-9, KJV 2000). I emphasize the word, “dominion,” or more precisely the gift of the “dominion mandate” God conferred upon man at creation.
In both the above passages, it is made abundantly clear “man” is not mentioned as the object of domination in the “dominion mandate.” We see land creatures, marine life, poultry and bird life, creeping life-forms, and over planet earth, but not “man.” The Creator gave man the the gift of the “dominion spirit” because he was made in God’s likeness. Its purpose was to aid man in pursuing his God-given purpose and personal dream through rulership over this earth – a planet given as an eternal inheritance to humans. (Gen. 1:26-28; Rev.21). Why was “man” left out of the “dominion mandate?” Because man was made after God’s likeness (“God is Love”). Man was not made in the likeness of beasts, birds, fish, or creepy life-forms. Of all creation, only man is given the human mind so he may exercise his God-given “dominion mandate.”
God’s prerogative is to rule over His creation for He is Creator. He is Ruler, not a Subject to be ruled. Man was made to adopt God’s nature, and likewise rule, not be ruled. Consequently, “man” was not included in the “dominion mandate.” How can a ruler be the ruled at the same time? It’s an illogical thought which presents a contradictory and impossible state of existence. So when a ruler (human) seeks to subdue another ruler (human) friction is set off, controversy ensues, and conflict is the end result. When conflict enters the door of your life, peace is undone.
Man was mandated to rule the earth and all upon it, but precludes his fellow humans. When man tries to rule another human, he is denying responsible stewardship of the divine “dominion mandate” conferred upon him. Man’s history is littered with accounts of one revolution after another, and its underlying reason is because man has misunderstood and/or misinterpreted the gift of the “dominion mandate.” Man has abused and used his “dominion spirit” as a weapon. This is the underlying reason for the absence of peace in the world and in human relations.
God, in His Triune Being as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, exist in their inclusive Love for each other. Through their diversity they are so indivisibly interlocked in their Love for each other it is impossible to live except in unified peace with and in each other. In their Love relationship it is impossible to dominate or rule over one another.
Depiction of God’s “Creation of the Animals” then Created Man Last to Rule Them (Genesis 1:20-25, 26-27) (Wiki Commons)
So, how do we live with, and relate to our fellow-men? We live as God does in His Triune existence – I call it the “Triune Life.” Paul answers our question, saying, “Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to Love one another” (Rom.13:8). Love is emphatically part of the divine mandate for man was made in God’s image, “Let us make man in our (Love) image.” Yes, we live like we owe every human the debt of Love because every man, woman, and child is made in God’s likeness of Love – for “God is Love” (1 John 4:8).
The sanctity of human life is founded upon God’s Love-image in man. Where there is Love, there is freedom, not domination of one another. (Gal.5:1) To be free to make up one’s mind is the mindset of a ruler, not a slave. To live subserviently to another is to live in bondage and discord with no peace. We do not twist our “dominion mandate” into a weapon of domination by seeking to rule other humans. We fail at living up to who we are created to be when we seek to dominate the next person. Jesus said of His heavenly Father, “You have Loved Me before the creation of the world (from eternity)” (John 17:24). The Father never ruled His Son, He Loved Him without reservation.
John tells us, “No one has ever seen God; but if we Love one another, God lives in us and His Love is made complete in us” (1 John 4:12). In other words, when humans reflect God’s Love for each other, they are looking into the very face of God. We all become the reflection of God’s Love nature, as Jesus told the disciples, “Anyone who has seen Me has seen the Father” (John 14:9). Jesus was the reflection of God’s Love doing good and healing all who came to Him, casting out demonic spirits, feeding the hungry, teaching His followers, raising the dead to life, and finally dying as the perfect sacrifice for human sin. (Act.10:38; John 10:25; 9:4)
We live in a world that’s fashioned in the devil’s way of life, so to live this Godly life is like swimming upriver against a strong current. Hence, we read Paul’s admonition, “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone” (Rom.12:18). Jesus restated the true meaning of the Genesis “dominion mandate” after His own disciples argued about who was greater (dominant) and creating unrest among them. (Matt. 20:25-28). They were behaving like worldly people wanting to be more dominant than the other. He went on to say, “But you are not to be called ‘Rabbi,’ for you have only one Master, and you are all brothers.” When we live in brotherly Love we care for each other’s welfare rather than seek to dominate one another. Peace is at the center of brotherly Love. Jesus said, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God” – or brothers and sisters. (Matt.5:9).
Shortly before His death, Jesus washed the disciples’ feet and taught them in a direct and visible manner the right understanding of the “dominion mandate.” Their relationship was not to be based upon trying to dominate one another, but Loving each other. He taught them peace was about humility, not pride. “After washing their feet, He put on His robe again and sat down and asked, “Do you understand what I was doing? You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and you are right, because that’s what I am. And since I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you ought to wash each other’s feet. I have given you an example to follow. Do as I have done to you. I tell you the truth, slaves are not greater than their master. Nor is the messenger more important than the one who sends the message. Now that you know these things, God will bless you for doing them” (John 13:12-17).
The washing of feet was a menial task assigned for servants, not a teacher, nor a Lord or Rabbi. But Jesus, who was God in the human flesh, went on His knees and washed the feet of the disciples. He gave them an example of humility to follow, for this is the way He lives in His Triune existence with the Father and the Spirit. The “dominion spirit” is a powerful force in us, and we can be easily led astray by the enemy if we are not careful. However, Jesus showed in an equally powerful way it is our Love for each other that’s the more potent force. We can’t expect God to bless us while simultaneously violating the “dominion mandate.” Jesus told the disciples, “I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have Loved you, you should Love each other” (John 13:34).
Jesus Washes Disciples’ Feet: In Servant Leadership “The Greatest Will be Your Servant” – (Wiki Commons)
Jesus tells us that in God’s “dominion mandate” the leader is the chief servant, not the domineering ruler. He said, “The greatest among you will be your servant [helper]. For those who exalt themselves will be humbled; those who humble themselves will be exalted” (Matt. 23:8-12). Yes, the essential foothold for peace in our lives is humility and submissiveness. The cause of disharmony among humans is pride and self-glorification. Above all, God wants to see people living at peace with each other, “How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity (peace)!” (Psa.133:1).
Let’s be clear what the “dominion mandate” has to do with peace? Quite simply, we cannot experience peace if we fail to see the truth that the “dominion mandate” was never given to dominate our fellowmen. We cannot have peace until we believe we were made in God’s image to “Love our neighbor as ourselves” (Mar.12:31). Therefore, peace begins with each of us.
Peace was lost in Eden when Adam and Eve followed the devil’s way of fear and domination over other humans. Peace was broken and openly seen in their sons when Cain murdered Abel, and mankind followed in the same footsteps. (Gen.4:8) But the most important peace pact that was broken was between God and man. Peace was lost when sin became the barrier between God and man. By evicting themselves from Eden through sin, our first parents chose the way of fear instead of Love, of discord and conflict instead of peace and friendship. Since then, man has never known peace on this earth. It continues to this day. (Rom.3:17)
But God’s Love is too great to leave man to his own devices under the hands of Satan. Mankind is God’s enterprise, remember, made in His likeness. He promised to send a second Adam who would come and bring peace that was man’s birthright at creation, and restore the Love relationship between God and man. (Gen.3:14-15; 1 Cor.15:45) The second Adam was Jesus Christ, the Son of God, He is called, “The Prince of Peace” (Isa.9:6). He is called the “Prince of Peace” for He came to reconcile man back to God by removing the barrier of sin, and restore the Love-relationship that is the basis of true peace. Peace is man’s birthright from Eden until the fall.
Paul makes this abundantly clear, saying, “For He Himself (Jesus) is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility (sin)…His purpose was to create in Himself one new humanity out of the two, thus making peace, and in one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which He put to death their hostility. He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit. Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household” (Eph.2:14-19). By saying “to create in Himself one new humanity” Paul was referring to Jesus’ dialog with Nicodemus of being “born again” into a new person empowered by the Spirit. (John 3:1-17)
Only through peace with God can man be at peace with himself and those around him. Then he is restored to his first estate before the fall. When Jesus was born, the angelic message to mankind rang clear, “I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David!… Suddenly, the angel was joined by a vast host of others – the armies of heaven – praising God and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest heaven, and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased'” (Luk.2:11-14). Yes, the “Prince of Peace” has brought peace on earth since Adam was evicted from Eden.
Peace Dove (Wiki Commons)
Jesus told His followers before He was taken to Calvary, “I am leaving you with a gift – peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid” (John 14:27). This world cannot give us the lasting peace the human heart longs for and desperately needs. The world does not know the way of peace – it was lost since Adam. (Rom.3:17) But God gave man back this wonderful gift of peace through His Son. Now, we can know and experience what true peace and the resulting joy it brings to our lives.
Peace encapsulates a whole way of life that moves us to question our motives and actions whether they actually promote generosity and goodwill with our neighbors. God’s Love is responsible for that way of life. We are not to be the cause of discord among our fellow humans. The Bible says God hates the act of sowing discord among men. (Prov.16:9b)
Today, we live in a frightfully troubled world that’s badly in need of peace. But peace between peoples and nations is not achievable if peace on a personal level is non-existent? People speak of personal peace of mind; but it is actually a counterfeit peace. For every good God promises out of His abundant Love, the enemy has a counterfeit to keep man deceived. How can one have true peace eating off of the “tree of good and evil?” True peace is found only in partaking of the fruit of the “tree of life” (Holy Spirit) which only Jesus enables access. (John 14:16) He said any who believe in Him “rivers of living waters” (Spirit) will flow from within a person’s innermost being. (John 7:38-39; also Rom.5:5; Act.2:38) The prophet Isaiah said, “For this is what the LORD says: “I will extend peace to her like a river” (Isa.66:12). A river is a metaphor for the Holy Spirit.
Political peace between nations and peoples is not some abstract notion or made possible through band-aid truces. It is the state of existence of its people. Peace begins with each one of us, then it translates into a grandeur scale. And the place to start is with “The Prince of Peace” who restores us to right relationship with our Father so His Love can be at the center of our existence. (Rom.5:5; 1 John 4:20) That is how peace will enter our personal lives, and then flows into the world.
How Will Peace Come to Our World? Man Knows He Needs It But Does Not Know How (Wiki Commons)
As we live our daily lives, the devil does not leave us alone – he will tempt us to use the “dominion spirit” to carry out his evil schemes. But God promises He will never leave us: “God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you” (Heb.13:5). Satan tries to steal the peace we have in Jesus. And He does this through deception and temptations as he did with Adam in Eden and introduce fear, sin and depression and so dominate us. Trials come in all shapes and sizes. Trials will bring the fear of the unknown, or false realities (illusions) through the devil’s cunning and deceit. Our lack of understanding of our true reality can make us project our fears into the unknown, or trust in false realities. Our reality is Jesus, it is upon Him that we must fix our gaze who will keep us in His perfect peace and Love. Through the Spirit’s power, who lives and makes us His temple, God will perform miraculous interventions to keep His promised peace in our lives. (Psa.91; 1 Cor.6:15-20) To quote from Corrie ten Boom, “Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God.”
Paul encourages us, “Do not be anxious about anything (trials), but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Phi.4:6-7). What does a “peace which transcends understanding” mean? It means it is a peace that’s beyond our human mind can fathom. It means what we think we know about peace in our human understanding is not the true peace from God – it’s beyond our knowing! Anything that’s beyond us (human) speaks of the miraculous! Miracles happen when there’s an encounter between the divine and the mortal.
Peace moves into our lives when God miraculously orchestrates our circumstances for our peace. It is a peace that’s eternal which resides in the Being of God. It means true peace has to do with the understanding of our reality with Jesus in heaven, “the Prince of Peace.” He is our defense against all enemies. (2 Thess.3:3) He is the Source of all blessings we desire in life. (Psa.37:4) He will guide us throughout life to our dreams and destiny. (Psa.23) God’s promise of peace to believers is as follows, “You (God) will keep in perfect peace all who trust in You, all whose thoughts are fixed on You!” (Isa.26:3). Peace is our human birthright.
Peace is not some theory, abstract notion, a band-aid truce, or some human endeavor we imagine will produce it. No, peace is the embodiment of a Person who calls Himself the “Prince of Peace,” and in whose Love-image we were made to live and exercise our dominion on earth. (1 John 4:8; Gen.1:26-27; Rom.8:29) As a bumper sticker aptly states, “No Jesus, no peace. Know Jesus, know peace!”
Every single human is given equal and shared dominion over the earth under the Creator (Psa. 24:1). God has made the earth sufficient for peoples of different color, language, and culture to exercise dominion over the earth in responsible stewardship. If anything, we are to help our fellowmen in their dominion, rather than seeking to dominate and coveting what is divinely bestowed upon others. God gave each human the “ministry of reconciliation” to maintain peace by introducing God’s Love in our relationship with others. (2 Cor.5:18). Peace starts with us when we resolve to keep the truth of the “dominion mandate” and never seek to dominate our fellowmen in any way, shape, and form. Jesus said, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must Love one another” (John 13:34).
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Until we meet again in my next post, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit” (Rom.15:13). May His Spirit enliven you and make all things concerning you possible, and may all the blessing of the God who ceaselessly expresses Himself in His Triune Love be with you through the year 2016.
* Bulamanriver” is the metaphor describing the union of man with the Love of the Triune God flowing in humans, making possible the “Triune Life” – the source of the miraculous life in man. To read the many facets of life of the Bulamanriver, go to my website www.bulamanriver.com where you can order a copy of my Book.
All scriptures are taken from the NIV Version 2011, unless stated otherwise.
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