I wonder what longings surfaced in you as the calendar advanced to 2014.
Perhaps like me, hope fills your heart when you contemplate the potential of the year ahead. But if you are like me, the uncertainty looming in its future may have reined in your expectation to cautious optimism. After all, we can’t allow ourselves to expect too much. Experience has left us a little gun shy.
Maybe we need to see what scripture says about that.
“And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.” Romans 5:5, NIV 1984
When Jesus remains the source of our hope, we can always expect greatness. If you and I will stick with Him through the fulfillment of His plan, we’ll never end up disappointed. Let’s look to the Lord of Glory with unguarded expectation and allow Him to surpass our wildest dreams!
We have reached the final week of our series exploring the four names given to Jesus in His prophetic birth announcement from Isaiah 9:6. Let’s revisit the entire verse and view it in context with verse 7.
“For to us a child is born, to us a Son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And He will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of His government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing it and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this.” Isaiah 9:6-7
Did you notice that the first thing scripture tells us about this child given to us is that government will be on His shoulders? Guess what that means. Our ability to experience Jesus by every one of these names will link directly to whether or not we allow Him to lead.
Does He govern you, dear one?
Jesus came to lead His people to glory. The moment we put our faith in Him—repenting of our sin, believing in the power of His sacrifice, and committing our lives to follow Him—He seals us as His own by giving us the Holy Spirit. We receive the Wonderful Counselor, the power of Mighty God comes to rest within us, and we become eternal sons and daughters of glory, belonging forever to the Everlasting Father. As if that weren’t enough . . .
“Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand.” Romans 5:1-2
Jesus becomes our Prince of Peace as our broken relationship with Holy God is restored, our sins are forgiven, and we enter into divine fellowship with our Creator. Unbelievably, He offers more! As we allow the Prince of Peace to rule and reign within our hearts, wonderful fruit will begin to emerge in our lives. Romans 15:13 names a few of them:
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”
Trusting Jesus to lead allows God to fill us with joy, peace, and hope!
Whether you realize it or not, dear one, peace is what your heart seeks. Have you ever noticed how elusive contentment can be? We set our hearts on one thing after another, assuring ourselves that this “one thing” will finally set our hearts at rest, only we soon discover that restlessness remains. It simply sets its sights on something else, and we find ourselves plagued once again with longing.
Can you relate? I can.
The absence of peace can even rob us of our ability to find joy in what we have. The sin nature that has governed us for so long will always crave more and send us in pursuit of something else. And sometimes that search for more ends up costing us the blessings we already have.
But Jesus . . .
In Christ, our souls have the ability to finally find rest and end our destructive cycles. Jesus said in John 14:27,
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”
You and I now have the ability to find that elusive rest. Jesus has given us His peace. So, how do we claim it? Isaiah 9:7 holds the key.
The increase of His peace accompanies the increase of His government.
The more we yield to the authority and leadership of the Holy Spirit, the more peace will abound. And as peace abounds, so will the life that springs from it.
“A heart at peace gives life to the body.” Proverbs 14:30
As we trust Jesus through our obedience, allowing Him to take His rightful place on the throne of our lives, joy, peace, and hope will flood our hearts and filter into our circumstances.
Let’s invite Jesus to take His seat on the throne today, beloved. After all, God placed government upon His shoulders, not ours. And Jesus desires to lead you to abundant life. Will you trust Him?
“Submit to God and be at peace with him; in this way prosperity will come to you.” Job 22:21