Summary: Peace is not merely the absence of activity or hostility, nor is it just getting away from reality. Peace can be described as both the freedom from disturbance as well as an inward sense of well-being.
In the world today people call for peace. They paint signs, write letters, drop bombs, and murder trouble makers, all in the name of peace. As I’m sure you all know the Bible tells us there will be no peace, and here are some stats to prove it. According to the Society of International Law in London; over the past 4,000 years there have been only 268 years of peace. 85% of all history concerns itself with war. In all the years over 8,000 peace treaties have been made and broken. While the Bible prediction and all the corresponding statistics may be disheartening, I urge you not give up. For the Bible talks about peace between nations, as do the stats from London. While peace may not be attainable on a global scale, it can be achieved on an individual basis. This is not only possible but required.
Today I want to discuss how to achieve peace. Peace is listed in Gal. 5:22 as one of the fruits of the Spirit, a trait that is to be held by all Christians, yet one that is too often absent from our lives. Many people search for peace, few often find it. Those who don’t are left asking “Why is it that some people have peace, while others are going to pieces?”
Perhaps part of the problem is that we don’t know what peace really is. Peace is not merely the absence of activity or hostility, nor is it just getting away from reality. Peace can be described as both the freedom from disturbance as well as an inward sense of well-being. Peace comes from only one source and it is not the United Nations. There are three different types of peace: Peace with God, the Peace of God; and Peace with Others.
It seems to be human nature to be at war. From fighting other nations to squabbling amongst ourselves. Many states have aggressive driving laws to try to curb road rage. Companies have ombudsman to settle disputes. Our civil court system is overrun with lawsuits from those who demand satisfaction and retribution for wrongs they have suffered. In our own lives we often take a comment from another and build it into a declaration of war. And we make the smallest annoyance into a dilemma of global proportions. If you go to the psychology or self-help sections in a bookstore, you will find scores of books on the negative effects of stress and ways to cope. Turn on your televisions and you will see reports on how stress has been linked to yet another ailment, and advertisements for the latest wonder drug to help reduce anxiety. We let anything and everything burden us down with more stress and more anxiety. We are like balloons, in that with just a little more air blown in and we will pop. Someone once said there’s only a couple of things that worry him.
1. His wife says good-morning Bill and his name is George. and
2. His horn goes off accidentally and remains stuck as he follows a group of Hell’s Angels down the highway.
Stress and anxiety are nothing new. Look at Ps. 77. The psalmist is going through some type of calamity. He can’t sleep or speak. It is affecting every part of his being. He feels alone, dejected, helpless, and hopeless. Everything is crumbling around him, with no end in sight. But then he remembers the Lord. Everything he had been feeling has been reversed.
As I said earlier, there are three types of peace; the first is being at peace with God. Now with our limited human thinking we may say that we have no conflict with God, but we would be wrong. Hopefully hostilities have ended, but at one point in our lives we were at war with God. Though God is a God of love, he loathes sin. Because of our sinfulness we are in opposition to God; he is repulsed by us. We may believe that we are holy and pious individuals, but when we sin we place ourselves on the wrong side of the cosmic battlefield.
But there is hope. Turn to Rom. 5:1 “Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” Even though we had by our sins taken up arms against Him, Jesus came and gave His life that we might not only be set free from the burden of sin, but also to secure peace between us and the Father. The first step in the road to peace is to accept this gift. To take hold of the gift that has been laid before us, even though we don’t deserve it. This should help us sleep a little easier at night, knowing that we are no longer at war with the ultimate power in the universe. It is imperative that peace is made with God, for without it we can have no other peace.