In the last 5,500 years our world has only seen 292 years of peace. Over 14,000 wars have caused nearly 4 billion deaths. According to recent reports, stress-related claims rose 700% since the 80’s; in fact, 3 out of 5 doctor visits are stress-related. All kinds of factors today contribute to the added stress level: the recession, our socialistic government, the rise in unemployment, lack of good eating habits / exercise, prayerlessness, etc. High stress levels have caused irritability, headaches, anger, lack of sleep, addictions, tension, depression… and the church is not exempt from these effects. If these statistics are correct, lasting peace is one of the most sought-after, and yet elusive, of God’s graces. God offers peace – He even promises it. Why don’t more of His children have it?
3 Kinds of Peace
1. Peace with God – an upward, ‘spiritual’ rest from the conflict that sin brings, only found in forgiveness because of faith in Jesus Christ. Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: (Romans 5:1) The God of the Bible is the “God of Peace” (Philippians 4:9) and He seeks to deliver that peace to you! For further study, please read (John 16:33; Colossians 1:20; Ephesians 2:14-17).
2. Peace of God – an inward, ’emotional’ exemption from the world’s fray, only found in an ongoing relationship with God, the Holy Spirit. (This type of peace is the core of this article.)
3. Peace with Others – an outward, ‘relational’ harmony with Christians and non-Christians, only found through humility, love, and much prayer. Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God. Be of the same mind one toward another . Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate. Be not wise in your own conceits. (Matthew 5:9; Romans 12:16)
What is Peace?
Using both the Old and New Testament words for ‘peace’ is necessary when attempting to gain a full understanding of God’s Peace:
– Peace is freedom from worry;
– Peace is the sense of security in a firm foundation underfoot;
– Peace is being at rest during stressful storms;
– Peace is exemption from the battlefield.
This is in now way a comprehensive definition, yet even in its brevity, this definition reveals how much of God’s peace we lack. Loosed from worries and fears, at rest in troubled times, calm in the worst of circumstances, cleared from all condemnation… Tragically, this doesn’t sound like what I call normal – what about you?
Where does Peace come from?
The Presence of God
We often think that peace is the absence of its anti-type – that its calm is nothing more than the lack of wind, waves, and rain clouds. Nothing could be further from the truth. Peace is something greater. It is not the absence of something, but the presence of Someone. It is a fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22). It comes from God because it is part of God’s nature to haply grant to us His grace of supernatural peace – even amidst the storms. Jesus said: “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth , give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled , neither let it be afraid.” The world gives peace by taking away our stress, our burden. ‘The world would create a paradise of sluggards…’ with a false rest. (-JH Jowett) God doesn’t give rest by writing treaties, removing burdens, or calming storms – He gives us the Comforter to walk with us, even to carry us, through the trials of pain and the stresses of circumstance.
Being Patient with God
Real peace is found in waiting on God to work. But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run , and not be weary ; and they shall walk , and not faint. (Isaiah 40:31) When we need peace, we need it now; but God wants to grow us, by making us stronger. Some Christians in Korea were being persecuted and were quoted: “We are just like nails. The harder you drive us, the deeper you drive us. The deeper you drive us, the more peaceful it becomes.” Let the cares of this life drive you to Christ.
By Partnering with God
Jesus promised to give peace to we who are weary and stressed-out: “Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:29-30) Interesting that Christ does not promise to lift our load, but to add to it. He does not ask us to lay our burden down, but to put His upon us. This yoke is a partnership of life, agreement with the Son, for the pleasure of the Father (see vs 25-27). By surrendering to God’s personal plan for you, you are entering into the rest God created for you.
Why don’t I have Peace?
You don’t have to live long to understand that problems and stressful situations are the norm. Storms come to the good and the evil, the just and the unjust (Matthew 7:24-27). A healthy peace in the middle of the chaos is the exception to the rule. But if God has promised it, then why don’t more people seem to have it? Several reasons:
– Are you looking the wrong place? So many are turning to pills or promiscuity, to self-help and spiritism. You won’t get lasting peace from a TV show, internet chat room, a bottle… Nor will you really find peace by faithfully praying for your storms to calm and for the problems to cease. Real Peace wants to visit you in your storm.
– Is your focus self-centered? Sometimes our peace is ‘stolen’ by one of the many faces of pride… self-isms. The more you look at your problems, your bills, your pain, your past, your future, your needs, your missed opportunities, your scars, your possessions, your life, your plans – the further you will find peace drifting away. (Philippians 4:6-7) Determine to crave a peace that you can’t understand or explain to your family and friends.
– Did you know that peace is sustained by the Word of God? You cannot continue in lasting peace unless it is founded upon the promises of God. When we allow things / people to bend us out of shape and to work us up into a frenzy, it is proof positive that we are not standing upon God’s Holy Word at that moment (Psalm 119:165).
Now the Lord of peace himself give you peace always by all means. The Lord be with you all.
2 Thessalonians 3:16