WHERE IS PEACE WHEN YOU NEED IT?
This might surprise you, but if you’re a follower of Christ, you already have peace. It’s been gifted to you. It’s there inside you waiting to be accepted and enjoyed.
The Gift of Peace
Jesus tells the disciples, I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid. (John 14:27)
We often think of peace in our lives and in the world as the absence of conflict. But life without conflict doesn’t exist. In fact, Jesus told his disciples they would soon scatter and leave him alone as he faced the darkness of the cross. Then, he added this, “Yet I am not alone because the Father is with me. I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” (John 16:31-33)
Just like Christ was not alone as he warred against the darkness, you are not alone. Peace is with you at all times in all circumstances. Peace offers comfort. The Holy Spirit of Christ offers it and you are meant to experience it even as you endure life’s battles.
Why then, do we feel desperately unsettled when the raging warriors of fear, anger, doubt, and sin attempt to steal and destroy our plans, our lives, us? Where is our peace when people hurt, shame, and blame us? Why don’t we feel at peace if the Spirit is with us and truly offers us peace?
Because unfortunately, peace is a gift often left unopened.
Peace Requires You To Do Something
Scripture lets it be known it requires our action to unwrap and tap into this gift of peace.
If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Romans 12:18
You have a role to play in the level of peace you experience. Your role is to live peaceably with everyone.
Including and especially God.
Ken Sande, in his book, The Peacemaker, says this: “Many people care little about their relationships with God and other people; all they want is peace within themselves…it is impossible to know genuine internal peace unless you also pursue peace with God and others.”
Peace with God
The truth is, you and I don’t deserve to have peace with God. But God loved us so much he made a way for us to enjoy a peaceful relationship with him: God so loved the world he gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in him will not parish but have everlasting life. (John 3:16)
Without Jesus there would be no peace. As you and I enjoy this peaceful path to God and spend time in his word, we grow our relationship. And as we lean into and learn the Lord’s ways we sing, experience joy, and we soon discover any sin that needs forgiving, any heartache that needs to be shared, and any shame that keeps us hidden is washed in his love. The result? Peace.
It’s as though each time we go to God we pull on the string wrapping the gift of peace within and make a way for it to be released—to be ours and to be enjoyed.
Peace with Others
How are your relationships with other people? Is there dissention? Is there anger and un-forgiveness? Is there hatred?
As followers of Christ, we are called to unity. Unity requires persistent listening and understanding. Unity requires obedience to the second great commandment, “Love your neighbor as yourself.”
Unity requires love be given away to others.
How are your relationships today? What can you do to help bring unity?
To sum it up, if you’re wondering why you aren’t experiencing peace within:
Look at your relationship with God. Spend time in worship, praise, and scripture. What is God teaching you or asking you to do or change?
Check your relationship with others. Is there anyone in your life you need to forgive or seek forgiveness from? What can you do to bring unity to your relationships?
When you and I are intentional about pursuing peace with God and with others, we will experience peace within. The gift we’ve been given will be unwrapped and we can rightly know and say we are at peace.