Peace. Such a simple word. We use it on numerous occasions, with many meanings. We may meet someone on the street and carry on a short conversation. As we depart, we may wish them “peace.” When two nations have been waging war and cease hostilities, we say there is peace. We may dwell on the peacefulness after a storm. The dictionary describes peace as an absence of disturbance, a tranquility. We may turn down the lights, put on some mellow music, close our eyes and achieve a level of peace. And this is good. I am all for peace.
But there is a different peace, the peace that Jesus brings. In John 14:27 it is recorded “Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful. (NASB).” Did you get that? Jesus’ peace is a different kind of peace, not the world’s peace. What is different about this peace that Jesus brings? I had a friend who once made a statement to me that God’s peace is the only thing that Satan cannot counterfeit. Some have described Satan as a counterfeit Jesus. He can seemingly replicate many of Jesus’ characteristics. But he cannot replicate the Peace of God. Remember, one of Jesus’ names is Prince of Peace.
I recently experienced both sides of God’s peace. Early on, when COVID first emerged, I was worried, not feeling peaceful. During my devotions one evening, I got a tremendous sense of peace, God said “I am in control. Don’t worry about this pandemic.” That has sustained me over the subsequent weeks and months. That is not to say I am not concerned. I grieve for those with the disease, I pray for them, for our country, for the world, for loved ones. But God was telling me he had it under control, despite what the world was telling me. That did not lead me to take a “bulletproof” attitude toward the disease. I am acting responsible, taking appropriate protective measures. But I believe we will get through this, one way or another.
In another situation, I lacked peace. I need eye surgery and I had my timetable for when it should occur. When things didn’t go as I planned, I was concerned, distressed, out-of-sorts. I need to do this, and I need to do it now was my attitude. For whatever reason, God’s timing on this was not my timing. As I lay in bed the other night, unable to sleep, I felt God speaking to me. “Why are you so concerned about this? I’m in control. Give me the steering wheel.” Oops, OK God. Sleep came.
How do we get God’s peace? Phillippians 4:6-7 (NASB) reads “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” We get God’s peace through prayer. Giving our concerns to Him.
God’ peace is different in at least five ways.
First, It transcends all understanding. It is beyond human comprehension. All we know is that God has it under control, so I don’t need to worry about it. I prepare income taxes. I have clients that can’t comprehend the details. They just want the results. That’s somewhat how it is with God’s peace. We don’t understand it, but we trust God for the results.
Second, God’s peace supersedes earthly circumstances. I don’t have a detailed blueprint of what’s going to happen, I just leave it to God. Why is this happening? Isn’t this approach that I have a better way? Leave it to God, He sees the end game.
Third, peace is a blessing from God. It is one of the fruits of the spirit. In Psalm 29:11 the Bible tells us that God will bless His people with peace. We don’t have to beg for it, it is a gift of God. We just need to accept it. Don’t pray “give me peace,.’ the offer has been made. Instead, pray “Thank you God for your gift of peace. I accept it with gratitude.”
Fourth, peace is in harmony with his character. I Corinthians 14:33 reads (NIV) “God is not a God of disorder but of peace.
Finally, to appreciate God is to live with Him in peace. To be with God is to be in peace. As a contrast, the moneychangers in the Temple were not with God when Jesus drove them out. They lacked peace.
A final caveat. We live in a fallen world. Everyone does not know God. We will not achieve peace with everyone. Romans 12:18 deals with this contingency. (NIV) “If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men.” We can’t control others, just take care of yourself and your relationship with God.
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