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It was the most important event ever, accompanied by the most important song ever, containing the most important announcement ever: "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom He is pleased." (Luke 2:14, ESV).
For today's devotional, I want to focus on two words: glory and peace.
Imagine, for a moment, what the world would be like if every person lived with the glory of God in view. Imagine what it would be like to participate in a society where the heart of every citizen was captured by the presence and power of the Lord. But we know this is far from reality.
Political corruption, social injustice, financial instability, sexual perversion - all these things happen because human beings forget about the glory of God and pursue their own wealth and fame and power. But don't be quick to point the finger at A-list celebrities, musicians, and athletes trying to usurp the King of Glory.
When we turn the mirror of God's Word in on ourselves, we find that we're glory amnesiacs, too; we just don't have the paparazzi following us. You see, the principal motivation of our heart was supposed to be that God would be praised in every moment of our life, but on many occasions, we simply don't care about the glory of God, choosing to replace him with temporary self-glories that we hope will satisfy.
I want you to imagine again - what would the world be like if every person lived at peace with God, with themselves, and with one another? Peace means no war; peace means no racial tension; peace means no divorce or strained relationships; peace means no mental illness. But we certainly know that's not the case.
From the moment Adam and Eve sinned, peace with God was shattered, and when we don't have peace with God, we struggle to find peace within. We don't need to say much about peace with others - our lives are marked by conflict! I don't think anyone reading this devotional has lived a conflict-free 2014. In fact, I think it would be safe to say that you experienced some type of conflict this week already.
Well, let's get back to reality. We live as glory amnesiacs in conflicted relationships (because we get glory wrong, we get relationships wrong). It's a discouraging conversation, isn't it? But here's what you need to understand - good news isn't good news unless you first know the bad news. In other words, you can't be excited about something being fixed until you know it's broken.
The Good News of Christmas is that Jesus came to earth to fix what is broken - your heart. Because he came to earth, we have the desire and ability to live for the glory of God and live at peace with others. Don't be afraid to look honestly at Luke 2:14 and see that you're glory amnesiac and an unpeaceful person. Christ was born to help you!
In the midst of your honest assessment of your heart, don't lose hope, because God gave up all his heavenly glory to make peace with you, even while you were still his enemy.
Paul David Tripp
- What self-glories do you struggle with on a daily basis? (For example, the glory of comfort or the glory of personal success.)
- What's so appealing, even for a temporary moment, about the self-glories that you struggle with?
- Where do you struggle to have peace with others?
- How does your sin contribute to relational conflict (Yes, the other person is probably hard to live with, but you're not free from responsibility)
- How does Jesus Christ enable you to live for the glory of God and at peace with others on a daily basis?