He himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility. . . .
The Hebrew word for peace is shalom. This rich word means much more than the absence of conflict, war, or strife and a lack of tension or animosity. It points to full flourishing for all people and creation, in which life is exactly as it should be. Prior to their fall into sin, our first parents enjoyed shalom in the garden of Eden (Genesis 2). They fully enjoyed their walks with God in the cool of the day, they enjoyed each other’s company fully, and their work and world were beautiful.
As believers who have been restored to a right relationship with God through the sacrifice of Jesus, we now have a taste—at least to some degree—of what Adam and Eve enjoyed before sin entered their lives. Likewise, in the church and outside of it, we also have a glimpse of the peace that awaits us in God’s presence. Sometimes this taste of shalom is strong, and sometimes it is weak, but it is always there.
We have also been tasked with bringing others to a renewed sense of peace. One way of approaching this is to ask, “How can I make life on earth seem a little more like heaven (or God’s kingdom) for someone else?” Can you think of a way to bring peace into the lives of others today?
Heavenly Father, we thank you for the peace that we have with you through Jesus, and for guiding us to grow in peace with others. Help us to be agents of peace in this broken world. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
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