Don’t Be a “Chocolate Only” Christian!
Through Jesus you can also experience genuine peace within yourself. Internal peace is a sense of wholeness, contentment, tranquility, order, rest, and security. Although nearly everyone longs for this kind of peace, it eludes most people. Genuine internal peace cannot be directly obtained through our own efforts; it is a gift that God gives only to those who believe in his Son and obey his commands (1 John 3:21-24). In other words, internal peace is a by-product of righteousness. This truth is revealed throughout Scripture:
“You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you” (Isa. 26:3).
“The fruit of righteousness will be peace; the effect of righteousness will be quietness and confidence forever” (Isa. 32:17; cf. Pss. 85:10; 119:165).
“If only you had paid attention to my commands, your peace would have been like a river, your righteousness like the waves of the sea” (Isa. 48:18).
These passages show why it is impossible to experience internal peace if you fail to pursue peace with God and peace with others. Internal peace comes only from being reconciled to God through his Son, receiving his righteousness and the power to resist sin, and then obeying what God commands. “And this is his command: to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commanded us” (1 John 3:23). By God’s design, the three dimensions of peace are inseparably joined. As one author expressed it, “Peace with God, peace with each other and peace with ourselves come in the same package.”
Taken from The Peacemaker: A Biblical Guide to Resolving Personal Conflict
by Ken Sande, Updated Edition (Grand Rapids, Baker Books, 2003) p. 46-47
Food for Thought
Authentic biblical peace is like Neapolitan ice cream. Peace with God is like the chocolate. Peace with others is like the vanilla. And peace with ourselves is like the strawberry. Some folks, when presented with a carton of Neapolitan ice cream, eat only their favorite flavor (usually the chocolate, right?) before putting the 1/3-empty package back in the freezer. When subsequent snackers drop by, they become crestfallen: Neapolitan without one of the flavors just isn’t Neapolitan!
Much of modern Christendom is like this. “Christian” is too often understood only to mean “at peace with God.” Rarely are Christians encouraged to dig their spoons into the vanilla and strawberry dimensions of the faith: making peace with others and experiencing peace within. Sure, the chocolate is important–you might even say it’s the “best part”, but Chocolate-only Christians will never change the world. Blessed are the true Neapolitan peacemakers, for they will not be confined to the freezer for long!
Ok, this is kind of a silly analogy, but I love the Isaiah passage.
17 This is what the LORD says—
your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel:
“I am the LORD your God,
who teaches you what is best for you,
who directs you in the way you should go.
18 If only you had paid attention to my commands,
your peace would have been like a river,
your righteousness like the waves of the sea.
19 Your descendants would have been like the sand,
your children like its numberless grains;
their name would never be cut off
nor destroyed from before me.”
Comments? Whats your favorite ‘flavor’? Kristina