The world clearly doesn’t know peace. Wars and threats of wars are consistently hitting the headlines. Violence and law-breaking are keeping lawmen and women in constant alert. Thousands of people are visiting their local psychologist in attempt to solve their mental stress. Families and marriages are tearing apart due to unrest and strife. Even Christians are suffering from anxiety because of their problems.
According to Webster’s dictionary, peace is defined as “a state of quiet or tranquility; freedom from disturbance or agitation; applicable to society, to individuals, or to the temper of the mind.” In the Greek and Hebrew, it indicates rest, safety, and prosperity.
These definitions wouldn’t describe much of what we see around us. However, it was never God’s intention for peace to be absent in the world. Beginning with Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, nothing evil existed. But when Adam and Eve sinned, Satan was allowed to bring all evil into the world. Apart from God, a severe lack of peace reigned. The opposite of peace’s definition was seen due to his influence.
God, on the other hand, is the author of peace. He is the God of peace.
Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. (I Thessalonians 5:23)
The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you. (Philippians 4:9)
As His children, we have the ability to live like Him. God’s will, unlike the devil’s, is that we walk in peace, just like He does. Thankfully, He didn’t leave us floundering to walk in that peace on our own. He first gave us His nature, a born-again spirit, to live by (2 Corinthians 5:17). He’s also gave us the Fruit of the Spirit, which includes peace (Galatians 5:22-23). He has given us His Word, a constant, written reminder of His nature and promises. With these tools, peace should always be our lifestyle!
“Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” (John 14:27)
These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)
How Peace Comes
With resources from our Heavenly Father, why do we still live peace-less? The answer is found in Philippians 4:6-7:
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.
Like faith, peace is not present if it isn’t first in the heart. It doesn’t come from the outside in; it comes from the inside out. It is true peace when it’s not determined by the situation and atmosphere around us. If the “peace” can be shattered by an evil report or a frustrating person, it is fake peace – a counterfeit posing as the real thing. Counterfeit peace will smile and act like everything is fine on the outside, when it’s really filled with anxiety on the inside. When it’s genuine peace, however, storms can blow and the peace will stay, unmoved.
Notice that Philippians 4:6 first addresses anxiety. Anxiety is a form of fear – fear that something will happen or go unresolved. God expects us to, by faith, make our requests for assistance known to Him through our prayers. Once we’ve made our requests known, we can have faith, or confidence, that He will take care of us just like He promised. At that point, the peace of God will fill our hearts. Once that peace is in our hearts, it can impact our minds effectively.
What if we refused to pray in faith concerning our situation? What if we didn’t have enough confidence in God to take care of us that we remained silent, festering in our anxiety? In that case, no peace would flood our hearts and our minds. We’d be left with the same fear and anxiety that plagued us. It’s a lack of peace that comes from a troubled heart filled with fear.
To be continued…