Faithlife Sermons

Peace (eirēnē)

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The Engagement

I’ve told you all before that I do not normally get too worked up. Yea, some things upset me, some things cause for my passion to rise, but as far as anger or disturbance, I’m pretty relaxed. Now, to go along with this, I’m not one that gets nervous too often. However, there have been a few times. I remember a feeling of nervousness when I was flying into South Carolina for Basic Training.
The real nervousness started after I arrived I landed, walked off of the plane, and saw a line of Drill Sergeants waiting for me. I was nervous when they loaded us onto a bus and we drove over to Ft. Jackson. I was nervous pretty much the entire time I was there, until about the 3rd week when everything became routine.
While this was a pretty nervous time for me, nothing compares to the nervousness I felt when I proposed. First I had to combat my nerves in order to call Larissa’s parents and ask them if I could propose. Then, I had to combat the nerves when I was picking out an engagement ring. Next, I had to fight against my nerves as I picked the day that I wanted to do it. All of it caused me great nervousness, but nothing compared to the actual day I was to do it.
I remember that Larissa had come over to the house, we had plans to go out for dinner. I fiddled with the ring box on my pocket as I got in the car with her. I had the idea to propose to her at Colton Point State Park, since we both love hiking and being outdoors. As we drove I became more and more nervous. Well, wouldn’t you know, I get up to the road to Colton Point and it is covered in ice and snow.
The nerves really hit me here, as my plan was foiled. I had this idea in my head that it all had to be perfect, so I was even more nervous. I quickly thought of the Leonard Harrison State Park, thinking that the road to that one may be clear. The problem was that I hadn’t been up there since I was a kid, so I couldn’t really remember how to get there.
So, I guessed. Luckily for me I guessed correctly. As we drove up and my nerves started coming back, harder, I tried to talk about anything I could, which I’m sure I seemed like a fumbling mess. Well, we made it up the hill, up to the parking lot, and parked. We walked together to the overlook part and looked out, I told Larissa that I was trying to find a certain hawk that was flying around.
I had to muster up the courage to do it, to ask. So, I prayed quickly to God for courage, told Larissa that I wanted to take a picture of her as she looked out over the canyon, and I got down on one knee and pulled the ring out. At this point I was internally screaming, and if my internal screaming could have had a face, it would have looked like this (MAKE A SHOCKED and SCARED FACE). All of my nerves were screaming at me, it was like I was being overtaken by an army of nervousness.
As she slowly turned around it was like my ears stopped, my heart kicked into overdrive, and every bit of me was stiff with nervousness. Without hearing myself say it, I said “will you marry me.” I never heard her say yes, but I swear she nodded up and down and I saw her lips say it. I mean, she hasn’t corrected me on it yet, so that’s a good sign.
As I think about this specific event, this moment of complete nerve overload, I wonder why I had these nerves. Why was I so nervous?
While I could go through a list of possibilities as to why I was nervous, I know why I was. I was afraid. I was afraid of denial, of Larissa saying no. That’s why I was nervous, because Larissa’s answer to me was unknown, and her answer affected me in a big way.
Rationally I knew that Larissa would say yes, but when we aren’t at peace, rationality takes a back seat, and irrationality drives us.

Irrationality

I will forever be grateful to God that Larissa said yes when I asked her to marry me. But, I will forever remember those feelings of nervousness when I was irrational. As I reflect on those moments, when irrationality was at play, I found a connection. In those moments where the unknown arise, if we are not actively engaging God, we move irrationally.
Fear overtakes us, nerves set in, our minds wander through the various possibilities. It seems like everything we know goes out the window. I told Larissa how nervous I was to propose to her. She asked me why and I explained what I had just said to all of you. She said “I can’t believe you thought I would say no.” It wasn’t an accusative or angry “I can’t believe...” but almost as if she felt disbelief herself. Disbelief that I had any doubt.
Irrationality caused me to doubt. My lack of reliance on God in that very moment caused me to fear. You see, if we have total reliance on God, and have unending faith in Him, there is nothing to fear. For God has sworn protection to us. He has sworn to us a promise of keeping us. I’m reminded of the verse that we heard earlier in our Advent candle reading. says,
John 14:27 NRSV
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid.
This verse alone has so much weight behind it. Christ Jesus has given us peace. Because of that peace we are not be let our hearts be troubled or to have fear.
Look at how the disciples reacted to the storm, compared to Jesus.
The Scripture says,
Mark 4:37 NRSV
A great windstorm arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that the boat was already being swamped.
Mark 4:37
When this happened the disciples started freaking out. Imagine you are on the boat and then all of a sudden the waves grow in feet, the wind picks up in speed, you are being tossed around, the boat is being overtaken by water. If you were one of the disciples I am sure that you would be freaking out about this. Being fearful, filled with nerves and doubt. But, look how Jesus reacted,
Mark 4:38 NRSV
But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion; and they woke him up and said to him, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?”
Mark 4:
Jesus didn’t react, because He was at such peach that he was asleep on the boat. As it is being tossed around, swamped with water, as the cold winds blew heavily, Jesus slept. The disciples were amazed at this, and proceeded to wake him up. Their disbelief was so deep that they asked Jesus, God Himself, “do you not care that we are perishing?” Their fear, their nervousness, their irrationality spoke up and accused God, the lover and creator of all things, if He did not care about the danger that they were in.
Jesus, hearing this, cried out, “Peace! Be Still!” Immediately the chaos ceased, the waters calmed, the wind died. And the disciples were filled with great awe.

Jesus, the Calmer

Jesus, in that moment, calmed the chaos. He recognized the anguish that the disciples were in, the fears they were having, the anxieties and nervousness. He calmed them all. While they were filled with great awe, I would add in that they were filled with great peace. But, what is peace? Why is it so important for us? The Oxford English Dictionary says that the word “peace” means,
freedom from disturbance; tranquillity.
freedom from the cessation of war.
Being at “peace” means,
being free from anxiety or distress
Jesus removes from us those feelings of disturbance, anxiety and distress. He provides for us the gentle shade needed for tranquillity.
I think it is a safe assumption to say that many of us here suffer with some sort of distress, fear, anxieties, and even irrationalities. The problem is that we take those feelings and try to provide our own calming. Imagine if Peter stood up and said “HEY WIND, I NEED YOU TO CALM DOWN!” Nothing would have happened. Instead, the disciples recognized that they were in danger, and while not trusting that the Lord’s presence was enough, they went to Jesus, woke him, and yelled at him to help (probably not the best way to handle that.)
I say all of this because Jesus is the great calmer. He is the remover of stresses, the calmer of storms, the gentleness in our rough lives. All we need to do is go to him and lay it at his feet.
Earlier this last week I had a moment where I felt anger. I don’t like anger, and I try to avoid getting to that point. But, something happened that caused me to have this feeling of anger. I went home that night and journaled. I explained why I was angry, who did what, who said what, and how I was feeling. But, as I neared the conclusion of my entry I wrote, “God, do not let me be angry. Please, remove this from me.”
I remember that as I ended that sentence with a period, the weight and pressure that I felt seemed to be lifted up from me.
So, I need to encourage all of you to act in a similar fashion. When you have these moments of anxiousness, fear, dread, nervousness, and more…give it to Christ. Take those feelings and offer them to Jesus so that He can handle the problem. We cannot do it alone, and it is time that we stop pretending that we can. The Lexham Bible Dictionary says that,
It is the peace that I felt when my hearing came back to me and I asked Larissa “did you say yes?” and she replied again, “yes.” It is the peace that overtakes someone when
Honestly, I feel like I have had many moments where I was not only the disciples on the boat, but I too was the boat, being overtaken by treacherous waters.
Today we celebrated the 4th Sunday in Advent by lighting the “peace” candle. If you recall, the reading we had along with the lighting of the candle said,
“Our world is not always a peaceful world. People hurt other people. Countries are at war today. People don't take care of the world. People yell and scream at other people.”
I’ve been thinking about this statement and about how relevant and true it is.

Christians experience peace when they trust in Christ and grow in their faith. This is what Paul prays for when he asks that “the God of hope might fill you with all joy and peace in believing” (Rom 15:13). Paul further promises that when believers cast their cares on God through prayer, “the peace of God surpassing understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus” (Phil 4:7). This subjective sense of peace, security, and tranquility is probably what Jesus referred to when He said, “My peace I give to you.” In this verse, Jesus links peace with the encouragement not to be afraid (John 14:27; compare John 16:33; Rom 8:6).

Greek for peace =
We need to quit fearing commitment to God, quit fearing reliance on Him, and quit trying to do it all on our own.
Let us pray
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