Sought by many. Experienced by few. Leaders strive for it. People seek it. Why is peace often the thing we crave most, yet the very thing we lack most?
Because God has put the desire in our hearts. He created us to live in peace. And the problem is…you can’t buy it. You can’t manufacture it.
Def: a calm state of mind, tranquility, and freedom from strife. These are all acceptable, but they are also temporary, subjective and dependant on your surroundings and situation. Peace means different things to different people. What does it mean for you? What would it take to be able to say you have peace? The answer is usually more money, bigger house, stable job, partner… People look for answers in tangible, material possessions. You only have to read the media for a few days and you will soon see that wealth, fame and comfort, does not guarantee peace. Which is why the bible says: “Better a dry crust with peace and quiet, than a house full of feasting with strife.” Prov 17:1.
It is more than the absence of conflict, difficult circumstances or mere comforts. It is completeness, health, justice, prosperity, and protection. And it is a gift from God.
God Promises us peace
“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.” John 14:27. God is telling us that He does not give us the temporary, material peace that the world offers, He has promised something far more enduring.
Poor Sarah (Genesis 21) if only she had believed the promise from God, she would not have fretted and worried throughout her pregnancy. Poor us. If only we believed the promises of God. Read His words, believe them and hold them close to your heart.
Is 54:10 “Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed, says the Lord who has compassion on you.”
Luke 2:14 “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.”
Ultimate peace on earth will only come when Christ returns, but until then we must strive to live peacefully in the world.
It is easy to feel at ease when your life is good, or you are sitting in a quiet garden or a remote beach. It is while facing life’s ups and downs on a daily basis that it is a bit more difficult.
How do we find peace?
- Most importantly, through obedience to Gods laws and commands (2 Chron 14:1-6)
- Psalm 34:14 and 1 Peter 3:11 says “Turn from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it.” It doesn’t just happen. We need to be intentional in doing what we can to keep the peace.
- Settle matters quickly with your adversary. Mat 5:25, 26. Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy. James 3:18 Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness.
- Colossians 3:15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts since as members of one body you were called to peace.
- Be thankful in all circumstances.
- Is 57:2 “Those who walk uprightly enter into peace”
- Honor God. God promises peace to Phinehas and his whole family because he had defended God’s honor. (Numbers 25: 10-13)
Nowhere does the bible say if we have more material possessions, that it will bring harmony into our lives.
When you are experiencing times of peace, it is not necessarily a time to rest and do nothing. Use the time constructively (2 Chron 14:7) to build up those wells. (Health, strong relationships and spiritual nourishment) Inevitably strife will come. When it does, we must be strong and spiritually sound, with a good support system to face the storms.
John 16:33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world, you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
You know a person is peaceful when they show the fruits of the Spirit: love, joy, kindness, goodness, faithfulness. They have the ability to show grace and calmness in the midst of turmoil.
Sin leads to an absence of peace
The Bible is very clear on this. Although God doesn’t go back on His promises, discipline is necessary for Him to restore us when we have done wrong. If at times you feel uneasy, anxious and unsettled, examine your life and seek any hurdle that could be standing in the way. It may be a dispute that needs settling, an idol in your life or a task you are putting off. See the post on procrastination
Despite the fact that society thinks they have it all worked out for themselves, they can do it their way and the bible is outdated, living a life outside of biblical values and principles, opens the portal for strife to enter our lives. God made us, he knows how we function and what we need to live peacefully.
Is 49:18 “If only you had paid attention to my commands, your peace would have been like a river, your righteousness like the waves of the sea.” This is His warning.
Is 32:17-20 “The fruit of righteousness will be peace; the effect of righteousness will be quietness and confidence forever. My people will live in peaceful dwelling places, in secure homes, in undisturbed places of rest. Though hail flattens the forest and the city is leveled completely, how blessed you will be, sowing your seed by every stream, and letting your cattle and donkeys go free.” This is His promise.
When peace eludes you
Let’s face it, we are human, there will be sleepless nights, worry and strife, and we are not going to experience perfect peace 24/7. During those times:
- Hold onto the promises.
- Heed Gods discipline, repent of any wrongdoing.
- Seek Gods wisdom and guidance on what you need to do to restore peace.
- If it is a situation that is out of your control, release it to Him. Easier said than done when we are worrying about loved ones and seemingly insurmountable problems, this is another topic all on its own, but it is possible. I know because I have experienced it.
- On those sleepless nights, when you are sick to the pit of your stomach and worry consumes you, you can still call out to God and sleep will come. As David says in Psalm 3:5 “I lie down and sleep; I wake again because the Lord sustains me.”
There may be issues that are really difficult and this is where your support system and spiritual strength are needed. But remember, “The peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ.” Phil 4:7
Christ the Prince of Peace
Isaiah 9:6 “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.” Isn’t that amazing? God sent His son so that we could have peace. “He was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon Him, and by his wounds, we are healed.” Is 53:5.
In the old testament, peace most often meant the absence of war. In the new testament, following Christ’s birth, there are more references to a spiritual peace.
Colossians 1:20 “..and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross”.
Spirit, Mind and Body
This is something that I have learnt and personally experienced over the past few days. Romans 8:6 “The mind controlled by the spirit and life is peace.”
The Spirit has control over our minds. The mind, in turn, controls the body. Our bodies may have a normal physiological response: fight or flight in times of stress. We may experience nausea, palpitations, and sleeplessness but this does not mean you have lost your peace. Your mind might be in overdrive because of a situation because that’s what our thinking minds do. It doesn’t mean, you have lost your peace. The peace that is in your spirit will overcome. Our spirit works in the mind to bring back perspective and that in turn controls the bodies reaction. It may take a few days, but the peace does not leave you. We deal with this in more detail when we talk about stress, worry, and anxiety.
Philippians 4:7 “And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
So what then is peace?
I have loaded you with scriptures here, because I cannot emphasize enough, that God has promised us peace, even in a fallen world. Having peace means knowing in your spirit that everything will be ok; that no matter what, God will work for the greater good. It is holding onto His promises in all situations. Feed your spirit with Gods word, music and song at all times. Then when strife comes, know that the spirit will comfort your troubled mind and bring your bodies response back into line. To find real, lasting peace, find God.