3 | Peace

Peace.
This was more difficult to write than imagined. It is foreign to me, in that my understanding of it is shallow, and its presence in my life is rare.
Every day, I feel as though there is less and less of this around us. The events in the U.S. this past week serve as a painful warning sign.

But friend, what does it mean for those who belong to Christ?
What is Peace?
May I remind you of some promises we can hold on to? ( I need it, too.)

Peace in the midst of storms

Close to the meaning of the Hebrew word shalom is the word used by the Kekchi Indians of Guatemala, who define peace as “quiet goodness.” The term they use conveys the idea of something that is active and aggressive, not just a rest in one’s own heart away from troublesome circumstances. [1]

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“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.” | John 16:33

“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.” | Philippians 4:6-7

“Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times and in every way. The Lord be with all of you.” | 2 Thessalonians 3:16

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Most understand ‘peace’ as the absence of trouble. Yet take a look at these verses, and its seems that the troubles are not taken away. Yet peace — that is, the peace of God — is given in the midst of these difficulties.

But before this, that is, before receiving the peace of God, there needs to be peace with God. Let me allow John MacArthur [1] to explain:

The natural man lacks peace with God. We all come into the world fighting against God, because we are a part of the rebellion that started with Adam and Eve. Romans 5:10 says we were enemies of God. We fought against God, and everything we did militated against His principles.

For you, my Friend, who has yet to know Christ

Jesus says, “Not as the world gives, do I give to you.” In other words, His peace is not like the peace of the world. The world’s peace is worthless…  Since World War II despite all of mankind’s “enlightenment,” and organized efforts for world peace, there have been an average of three new wars every year. The New York Times once observed that “peace is a fable.”

The only peace this world can know is shallow and unfulfilling. Most people’s pursuit of peace is only an attempt to get away from problems. That is why people seek peace through… forms of escapism. The fact is, apart from God, there is no real peace in this world. The peace of putting your blinders on, of going to bed and forgetting it, is fleeting and worthless. And yet people try desperately to hold on to this kind of mock peace.

It is futile pursuit. Godless individuals can never know true peace. They might know only a momentary tranquility–a shallow feeling, perhaps stimulated by positive circumstances mixed with a lot of ignorance

People today live in a form of existential shock. They don’t understand their own being, they don’t know who they are, where are going, or what they do when they get there.

But when we receive Jesus Christ, we cease being enemies of God–we make a truce with Him. We come over to His side, and the hostility is ended. Jesus Christ wrote the treaty with the blood of His cross. That treaty, that bond, that covenant of peace declares the objective fact that we now are at peace with Him.

A sinful, vile, wicked person cannot come into the presence of a holy God. Something must make that unholy person righteous before he can be at peace with God. And that’s exactly what Christ did, dying for sin, imputing His righteousness to sinners. So Paul says we are no longer enemies but are at peace because we are reconciled.

Paul speaks about [peace] in Philippians 4:7: “And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, shall guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” The peace of God is not based on circumstances like the world’s peace, so it doesn’t always make sense to the carnal mind; Paul says it is a peace that surpasses comprehension. It doesn’t seem reasonable that such peace could exist in the midst of the problems and troubles Christians go through. But this is divine, supernatural peace; it cannot be figured out on a human level.

And for you, Christian.

Jesus shows us the proper response to His promise of peace, “Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful” (John 14:27). We ought to be able to lay hold of this peace. It is there, it is ours; but we must take hold of it. It is interesting that He says “I give you peace,” then He says, “Do not let your heart be troubled.” The peace He gives has to be received and applied in our lives. If we lay hold of the promise of the very peace of Christ, we will have calm, untroubled hearts, regardless of external circumstances.

If you have a troubled heart, my friend, it is because you do not believe God–you don’t really trust His promise of peace. Anxiety and turmoil seldom focus on present circumstances. Normally, anxiety is trouble borrowed from either the past or the future. Some people worry about things that might happen. Others’ anxieties come out of the past. But both the future and the past are under the care of God.

He promises to supply our future need, and He has forgiven the past. Don’t worry about tomorrow or yesterday. Jesus said, “Each day has enough trouble of its own.” (Matthew 6:34). Concentrate on trusting God for today’s needs.

Perfect peace comes when our focus is off the problem, off the trouble, and constantly on Christ. Isaiah 26:3 says, “The steadfast of mind You will keep in perfect peace, because he trusts in You.”

Most people who lack peace simply have not taken the time to pursue it…
He commands, “Be still, and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10, King James Version). And to those whose minds are steadfastly fixed on Him, He gives the gift of peace. 

Be still: Know that there will still be trouble, but set your hope in God. Look up, and set your mind on things above. And then receive this promised gift of peace.
(I’m still learning in this area. Happy to hear your thoughts and lessons on peace.)
Reference
[1] https://www.gty.org/resources/positions/P21/The-Gift-of-Peace
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