Peace in the world, peace around and peace within. A life of peace is a desire that is universal and the pursuit of it is often misconstrued to be found in things other than God.
What is Peace?
Peace is often defined in terms of what it is not, the absence or cessation of conflict or strife. Spiritual peace is more than that, it is contentment that we feel within, that begins from being in a right and close relationship with God. It is the fruit of a life that trusts the Lord and is dependent on Him in every possible way.
Source of our peace
Ephesians 2 says that Christ himself is our peace. Isaiah 9:6 describes Christ as the prince of peace. Jesus came so that we can be reconciled to God. When we repent and respond in faith to His grace, we are at peace with Him (Rom 5:1).
Jesus made a way for us to have peace with God and also enables us to be in a position to have peace from Him.
Psalm 29:11 says “The Lord blesses his people with peace”. And yet, peace in our everyday life can be elusive. There are situations that can easily rob us of the peace we feel. Our worries, anxieties and fears creep in and keeps us from being in a place of peace and rest in God.
The peace that Christ promises those who believe in Him is not experienced only when we remove or distance ourselves from strife, but God given peace is a peace felt even in the midst of a storm.
And we can have that because of Jesus words in John 16:33,“I have said these things to you that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation, but take heart. I have overcome the world.”
Psalm 34:11 says “Seek peace and pursue it.” This verse teaches us that although Christ promises us peace, there is an intention (seeking) and action (pursuing) from our end to be able to experience that peace.
This above verse parallels what Jesus says in Mathew 6:33 “Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness and all these things will be added unto you.” This verse follows Christ’s words to not worry about things but to trust that God loves and cares for us. What should occupy our minds – seeking and pursuing God. If God himself is our peace, won’t seeking, pursuing and keeping Him first in our lives enable us to be feel His peace even in the midst of our turmoil.
God is always in control; we might know that, but when anxious, our actions betray that truth? One of the biggest things that can rob us of our peace is the uncertainty that comes with a difficult situation. We have to remember that the uncertainty is present for us because we do not know, not because God does not. The uncertainty is our state when we do not trust, not the reality of a God who is Sovereign and mighty.
When Jesus was asleep on the boat along with his disciples and a storm begins to rage (Mathew 8), the disciples succumb to their fear but how does Jesus react. He was in such perfect peace that it allowed Him to sleep in the midst of the storm. I must say that my reaction would have been more like the disciples.
So, how do we hold onto that peace when a storm threatens?
Psalm 119:165 teaches us that “God’s peace have they who love your law.” Abiding in Him with an obedience to His word is necessary for us to be right with God and experience His peace. Peace is a blessed consequence of being obedient to Him. When we listen to God, even if it might not make sense in the moment, an unexplainable peace fills your heart.
Isaiah 26:3 says “You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast on you.” To remain obedient to God through the ups and downs we encounter, our mind has to stay steadfast on the Lord so that our focus is not pulled away by the things that can instil fear but is always on the one who holds things together.
Romans 8:6 explains “For to set the mind on flesh is death, but to set the mind on the spirit is life and peace.” Where is our focus? Is it on a life lived for God or is it spent in the pursuit of earthly things?
As people, we falter, we do not always abide, remain consistently obedient and walk diligently in trust. This creates an unrest within our hearts and minds. And we then seek to quench that unrest, searching for peace.
Where are we seeking peace in our everyday situations? Is our peace reliant on our day going according to plan, is it sought in the security of our jobs, or our health, does our peace evaporate when a challenge come knocking on our door? Do we turn to the prince of peace only when our crutches of momentary temporal peace are no more?
In John 14:27 Jesus says “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.”
Philippians 4:6-7 says “Do not be anxious about anything but in every situation, by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
This verse, reminds us to stay connected to God (Prayer), ask Him to let our gaze be fixed on Him and to be filled with His peace (Petition) and always have the right attitude and perspective (thanksgiving), that HE is Sovereign and Almighty. He will never leave or forsake us and that He works out good for all those who love Him and are called according to His purpose (Rom 8:28).
When fear tends to flood, pray, believe and trust. It is that simple but also that hard.