How To Gain & Remain In Peace
Peace is an important theme throughout the Bible. Peace is highly sought-after. The Apostle Paul usually begins his letters with a salutation calling for peace. Peace is a major gift to Christians given by Jesus prior to His ascension into Heaven. We can have peace in the midst of trouble and chaos. Peace is unknown to people living apart from Christ. God knows your troubles, cares, and hopes. Peace is a blessing from Him. Peace is something that separates a believer from a non-believer. Peace is from God alone “The LORD gives his people strength. The LORD blesses them with peace” Psalms 29:11 (NLT).
“And when he [Jesus] drew near and saw the city [Jerusalem], he wept over it, saying, “Would that you, even you, had known on this day the things that make for peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes” Luke 19:41-42 (ESV).
“Whoever does not love me [Jesus] does not keep my words. And the word that you hear is not mine but the Father’s who sent me. These things I have spoken to you while I am still with you. But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid” John 14:25-27 (ESV).
“For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace” Romans 8:6 (ESV).
One of the hardest things that we will ever do is to trust God completely rather than being anxious or worried. God knows our difficulty of complete trust in His sovereignty and ability, so He promises that He will lead us into peace. “. . . to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace” Luke 1:79 (ESV). Peace is based upon our relationship with God. We gain peace by completely trusting Him. If, in our mind, we are settled that God knows what is best for us, regardless of the circumstances that we see, then we can live in peace. Having peace is accepting the role and responsibilities given by God, and not shouldering any other. Being offended when someone else is harmed, questioning God when an evil person prospers, or fighting spiritual forces with natural weapons, are examples of taking on a role or responsibility not given to us. Anything like this will disrupt our peace.
We serve a God who loves peace. He wants us to live in peace. The conflict that comes from anger, strife, arrogance, jealousy, or selfish ambition is needless. You and I do not need to live this way. “For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice. But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere. And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace” James 3:16-18 (ESV).
Worry, anxiety, and fretfulness will not improve any circumstance. Nothing will get better because you are concerned about the outcome. Only God can make things turn out better. Jesus’ disciples saw the storm, even though Jesus was asleep in the boat. Jesus was at perfect peace because He trusted God for His future. He knew that His life was always in the hands of God. The disciples woke Jesus up from His sleep, and Jesus calmed the storm by saying, “And he awoke and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, ‘Peace! Be still!’ And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm” Mark 4:39 (ESV).
God wants us to have peace in our relationships with others. We can see this in the healing of the demoniac man who lived in caves and broke chains in order to escape any capture. When Jesus delivered him from having many demons inside, the man was at peace and those in the nearby village became afraid. The fear that they had was not reasonable or necessary. (Mark 5:1-20, Luke 8:26-39).
Little is settled or made right through fighting and conflict. Why did Jesus want us to turn the other cheek, go the extra mile, or take a log out of our own eye? Why did Jesus want us to settle a matter before it went to court? Why does Jesus want us to love our enemies and forgive others? (Matthew 5-7). Do not all of these things lead to conflict if we demand our own way? In 2 Corinthians 5:18 the Bible says that we have the ministry of reconciliation: “All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation.” Reconciliation is a form of bringing peace. We have peace with God and we can have peace with our neighbor.
Peace is a fruit of the Holy Spirit. It is through the power of the Holy Spirit that peace is maintained. I’m grateful that the Spirit of God lives in me. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law” Galatians 5:22-23 (ESV).
“Therefore remember that at one time you Gentiles in the flesh, called “the uncircumcision” by what is called the circumcision, which is made in the flesh by hands—remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility. And he came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near. For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father. So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit” Ephesians 2:11-22 (ESV).
“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil . . . Therefore take up the whole armor of God . . . Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance . . .” Ephesians 6:10-18 (ESV).
“Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord” Hebrews 12:14 (ESV).