How do you find peace in a crazy world? It feels like our world is very divided. Whatever it is, you’re for or against, in or out, and there seems to be less and less room for compromise or a moderate position. In the midst of this chaos God provides us with an antidote – peace.
The Gospel of Peace
God begins laying out the idea of his peace in the Old Testament. You may be familiar with the Hebrew word Shalom. This word means completeness, soundness and well being. It was used as a blessing for one’s neighbours and also refers to spiritual well being. In Isaiah’s prophecy (Isa 9:6) Jesus is referred to as the Prince of Peace and in the New Testament the gospel is called the gospel of peace (Eph 6:15).
Peace is very close to the heart of the gospel. Peace was announced at Jesus’ birth: “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.” (Lk 2:13-14). In the most essential New Testament sense peace refers to being reconciled to God through salvation. (Rom 5:1-2). Once salvation is accepted, we are no longer at war with God. Internal conflict is stilled as we surrender our independence to the will of God. Jonah found out the hard way that fleeing from God’s will never brings peace. He had to do what God had called him to do or he would have been forever running away. It’s one of those strange paradoxes that only when we surrender our will to God, do we find peace.
So, if we have spiritual peace with Jesus, we may ask, especially in a world of chaos, what does peace do?
Peace brings unity
We must strive to live at peace with our neighbours as Jesus taught in the turn the other cheek message (Matt 5:38-40). Living in peace is about how we act. Do we love and respect each other?
“I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, 2 with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, 3 eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” (Eph 4:1-3)
Peace is meant to be a bond or glue in the local church that brings people together. When we live in peace with fellow believers, we are united together. Peace is an active pursuit that we must work towards. By living in peace we bring about unity.
Peace prevents divisive arguments
“So flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart. 23 Have nothing to do with foolish, ignorant controversies; you know that they breed quarrels.” (2 Tim 2:22-23)
Peace is something that doesn’t just happen but is something we should pursue. As we pursue peace, we should stay away from ‘foolish, ignorant controversies.’ Getting into the latest Facebook debate rarely leads anywhere good. Pursuing peace on the other hand leads to unity.
Peace is the key ingredient in righteousness
“But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. 18 Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness.” (James 3:17-18)
Wisdom is peace loving and peacemakers grow the fruit of righteousness.
Peace brings reconciliation
Just as we are at peace because of the reconciliation of salvation so peace also brings reconciliation in our relationships with those around us.
“Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. 16 Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. 17 And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” (Col 3:15-17)
We cannot love God and hate our neighbours. Our conflicts and disunity come from our sinful human nature, temptation and spiritual warfare. The gospel on the other hand is a message of peace and reconciliation. We must choose to live in peace, doing the things described in this passage.
Peace will guard hearts
Peace is part of the salvation experience, and it will guard the hearts of people.
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Phil 4:6-7)
Inner peace flows from being with Jesus and communing with him, from being in right relationship with him. Resting in Jesus leads to peace, then we can trust him for our daily tasks, rather than the other way around. When we stop working and give our anxiety to Jesus we see that the world does not fall apart.
Conclusion and Application
In conclusion I would like to tie some of these ideas together and point you towards a process of finding peace
- Accept the salvation Jesus provides. This is the foundation of peace
- Learn how peace relates to other biblical concepts. Look at some of the things related to peace: righteousness, unity, grace, mercy, love, joy and life, reconciliation
- Don’t be anxious and worried about everything, God is in control
- Bring everything that worries you before God. Pour out your heart to him
- Seek God’s will for your life and follow his leading. Resisting the will of God is a sure way not to find peace
- Find peace with those around you and especially in the body of Christ. As much as it is possible, live at peace with everyone (Rom 12:18)
- Do you know the peace of God provided by salvation?
- Are you living at peace with others to the best of your ability?
- Can you point to some results of peace in your life?
- Jesus has overcome the world that we may have peace. “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)
In a world of chaos, you can find peace in Jesus, then he enables you to live in peace with others.