This Christmas season, Saddleback Church Pastor Rick Warren tells believers about three gifts of peace that they can receive from God to have a better new year.
In the pastor's Daily Hope devotional posted to his website Thursday, he says that, despite whether believers have experienced good or bad this year, they can have a better experience in 2017 with three kinds of peace gifted from God:
Peace with God
Warren says that this kind of peace is the foundation for the other two kinds of peace, and explains that peace with God doesn't come from the efforts of man, but rather how Jesus died on the cross for mankind.
To emphasize his point, Warren cites 2 Corinthians 5:18: "God ... sent Christ to make peace between himself and us."
Peace within (Peace of God)
The Saddleback pastor says peace with God can lead to peace within, or the peace of God. He points out that Scripture references the peace of God nearly 800 times, and explains that this peace can cover any of life's issues.
"For those with a broken heart, God gives us comforting peace," he says. "For those with a confused heart, He gives us guiding peace. For those with a shamed heart, He gives us forgiving peace. When we have a worried heart, He gives us confident peace."
Colossians 3:15, "Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts."(NIV)
Peace with Others
The pastor explains that this is relational peace, how Christians treat and interact with others. He says that a believer's relationships with family, friends, and others around them are a direct reflection of their relationship with Christ. The farther a believer is from God, the more dysfunctional their relationships will be.
Ephesians 2:16, "Together as one body, Christ reconciled both groups to God by means of His death on the cross, and our hostility toward each other was put to death." (NLT, second edition.)
Warren tells believers that peace can be real, lasting, and not just a dream — but God's free gift.