Ain’t Gonna StudyWar No More

Today’s devotional begins in an unusual place. We find ourselves in Nat King Cole’s marvelous song, “Ain’t Gonna Study War No More.”

Gonna lay down my sword and shield
Down by the riverside
Down by the riverside
Down by the riverside
Gonna lay down my sword and shield
Down by the riverside
Ain’t gonna study war no more.


I ain’t gonna study war no more,
I ain’t gonna study war no more,
Study war no more.
I ain’t gonna study war no more,
I ain’t gonna study war no more,
Study war no more.

The origin of this spiritual comes from our Advent lectionary passage found in Isaiah 2. This prophetic word points toward a time when peace and harmony will rule the earth with the coming Messiah. People will take their weapons of war and turn them into instruments of harvest, as the world moves from violence against one another to growing and sustaining one another:

Isaiah 2 (Common English Bible)

He shall judge between the nations
    and shall arbitrate for many peoples;
they shall beat their swords into plowshares
    and their spears into pruning hooks;
nation shall not lift up sword against nation;
    neither shall they learn war any more.

In this season of reflection and waiting, I suggest we work toward finding inner peace. We won’t have outer peace without it and having peace in our hearts is something we can do now as we wait for Christ to return. Do you have peace? If not, try these things:

1. Rejoice in the Lord. 

Phil. 4:4 says to rejoice in the Lord always… not just rejoice occasionally. Not just rejoice when something great happens but rejoice in the Lord always. Making the choice to rejoice in every circumstance brings peace to your soul.

2. React with graciousness. 

Be gentle and forbearing… with everyone. Scripture teaches us that “A gentle word turns away wrath.” Paul says to let your words be seasoned with salt and designed to build up, not to cut down, designed to develop, not destroy, and designed to help, not to hurt. When your graciousness is evident to all, you not only experience peace, but you also give it to others.

  1. Rest in the Lord.

Jesus said: “I will never leave you nor forsake you!” Remembering that Jesus is with you and that you abide in Him will help you rest in Him and experience his peace when you have none. 

  1. Reach up to God in prayer.

Let prayer be your first response, not your last resort. Paul says: “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Phil. 6:7)

5. Reflect on good things. 

The battle for peace is primarily fought in the mind. We must take every thought captive to Christ by meditating on God’s Word. In Phil. 4, Paul wrote: “Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.” 

6. Repent and receive forgiveness.

The Holy Spirit will not let us be at peace when we are holding on to sin, so we must confess, repent, and receive God’s forgiveness. When we confess and repent of our sins, we find an inner peace.

Advent is a season of light. May we walk in the light of Christ as we wait!

O house of Jacob,
    come, let us walk
in the light of the Lord!

Let There Be Peace on Earth by Michelle Robertson


  1. Sue Culpepper · November 30

    Thank you, Betsy for your words of wisdom and messages of peace as I read this and your Adventuring to the Manger . And, Enjoying quiet Christmas Piano music in the back ground.


    • Betsy · November 30

      Sounds like the best way to begin a day! God’s Word and Christmas music. How lovely!


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