Summary: 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?
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?
1. 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.
2. 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.
3. 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.