One of the greatest mistakes that modern preaching made was getting us all to seek peace and joy as an end in themselves. Peace and Joy are not things we are to go after first. They are things that God adds to those who are going after the right things.
Let me make the case by using the story of the Wise Men. Imagine the world they knew. Tradition says they were from the school of the Magi in Persia. They were Kings and likely billionaires.
They came under the influence of Judaism because of Daniel centuries before and because an edict from Solomon that the whole world should have knowledge of the Lord God Jehovah.
Let’s imagine the turmoil in their souls when they saw the star. They knew it signaled the birth of the King of Kings because they had long before come under the Spirit’s influence.
Should we go or not? How do you prepare your kingdom for a prolonged absence? What if our enemies invade?
Then the real question hit them. “What if we do not go? Imagine living out the rest of our days knowing that we were invited to the greatest event in history and we stayed home.”
They found profound peace because they said yes. Isaiah 26:3 says, “You will keep him in perfect peace, Whose mind is stayed on You, Because he trusts in You.
The person kept in perfect peace is not focusing on peace, they are focusing on God and in trusting God.
The Wise Men learned that God gives peace to those who willingly endanger themselves in a divine quest. Peace has no place with bored believers seeking escape. Matthew Henry said, “we cannot be safe so long as we are secure.” No matter how hard you try to secure yourself against the upheaval in the world you will still battle anxiety. You cannot ask life to leave you alone and think God will add peace.
Romans 5:1 Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Peace is clearly a byproduct in this verse. It comes from believing in what Christ did on the Cross and what He did before His Father.
Here is the danger of seeking peace while ignoring God’s call: Luke 19:41 “Now as He drew near, He saw the city and wept over it, 42 saying, ‘If you had known, even you, especially in this your day, the things that make for your peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes.” Let that be a warning to us all. We must pursue the things that make for our peace.
Joy overtakes those who obey orders. Matthew 2: 9 “After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen when it rose went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. 10 When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. 11 On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.”
Again, joy is not a feeling you work up but a gift God adds to those who are walking by faith and not by sight. Two years before the star rose signaling the location. It was their duty to get there and then they could see the star once more.
1 Peter 1:8 says, “whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory.” Loving Him even though you cannot see Him releases joy.
Zephaniah 3:17 The Lord thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love, he will joy over thee with singing.
Never forget: Peace and Joy are not things we are to go after. They are things that God adds to those who are going after the right things.