Summary: Let's talk about the Christian concept of peace, then the negative emotions of upset and how to deal with them (Material adapted from book by Robert Roberts called Spiritual Emotions, chapter on peace)
Two painters were commissioned to paint a picture of peace. The first chose for his canvass a scene of tranquillity of a still lake among beautiful far off mountains. The second threw across his canvass a thundering waterfall with a fragile little tree suspended over the foam. There at the fork of the branch, dampened by the spray, sat a robin on its nest. The first picture was one of “stagnation.” The second one of “peace.” Talking about Christian peace tonight.
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace” Galatians 5:22, NIV.
A major attraction of many of the therapies and philosophies of today are of achieving a sense of peace, a relief from anxieties, fears and griefs, anger, guilt, and a sense of inadequacy. Such negative emotions are not only upsetting; they cause our work to suffer, our relationships to be poor, and our bodies to react with sickness. With all the anti anxiety and anti depressant drugs, anger and grief counseling, a good question needs to be asked, “Where is all the peace?” Peace is promised but rarely achieved.
During his ministry Jesus was meeting distraught, troubled, anxious, worried, fearful, and disturbed people. When they met with Jesus, many of them experienced peace. Jesus would heal them and they would have peace. Or they would listen to his teachings and experience peace like with his teaching here: “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” Matthew 11:29, NIV. Before he went to the cross, Jesus said to his disciples, ““Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me.” “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 14:1, 27, NIV.
Now, “tranquility,” or “contentment” or “calm” is not always the way that people experienced peace in response to Jesus’ words and actions. The peace that Zacchaeus found was an excited peace, a joyful, grateful state that led him to action. To the morally and spiritually complacent, Jesus did not bring calm, but upset: “Do you think I came to bring peace on earth? No, I tell you, but division.” Luke 12:51, NIV. It is a safe guess that he raised the anxiety level of the rich young ruler and others who witnessed this event. Many of his parables aim to disturb the religious, and Jesus certainly did not promote feelings of peace in the money changers he drove with a whip from the Temple courtyard. The ideal person is not always calm.
Thesis: Let’s talk about the Christian concept of peace, then the negative emotions of upset and how to deal with them
Peace in the NT is referring to one of 4 things:
1. Our relationship with God. “Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,” Romans 5:1, NIV.