G'day & shalom!! Paul writing to the church of Philippi :"Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable-if anything is excellent or praiseworthy-think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me-put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you." Philippians 4v5-9
The world we live in, wants peace! We hear it all the time! Politicians want peace and they are prepared to go to war to get it! New Age folk want peace! Atheists, humanists, Muslims and Hindus want peace! The world is unified around the concept of peace! Almost all want and dream of it! However, the peace the world wants requires the manipulation of circumstances. On the other hand, God's peace comes regardless of circumstances. So what does the Bible have to say about peace between God and humanity and peace within humanity itself? What does the Bible mean by "peace"? Just how can I as a Christian disciple maintain an inner peace?
Peace Definition: 'Shalom' was the Hebrew word used in the Old Testament. It means a wholeness of well-being & mind; the total absence of conflict and turmoil evidenced by an untroubled mind and a heart that does not fear! It is a total harmony with God, man, circumstances & self. The end of peace was when Adam sinned and fellowship was broken with God and between humans (Genesis 1:3). We know that the God we serve is a God of peace (1 Thessalonians 5:23). We also know that the Kingdom of God is about peace in the Holy Spirit (Romans 14:17). Jesus is referred to as the Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9v6) and Zechariah prophecised in Luke 1v79 that Jesus would "guide our feet into the way of peace." As Christian disciples, we have peace with God through the death and resurrection of our Jesus Christ our Master! But as you know, we are still fallible humans and we all have to some degree and at different times, inner turmoil caused by all sorts of things like asserting our rights, attitudes of unforgiveness towards others and guilty consciences reminding us of things past. What does peace with God mean? How does peace with those around me work? Why do I need to be at peace with those who do not like me? How can I maintain peace within me at all times?
Peace with God.
As Christian disciples we are justified by faith and have peace with God. This peace gives us access into grace and God's blessings (Romans 5:1-2). Our Master Jesus Christ is our peace between God & humanity; also within humanity and the hostility has been removed (Romans 2:13-18).
Peace with Others
Paul commands us in Romans 12vv17-20, to live at peace with everyone and not to be proud or vengeful. We are to do what is right in eyes of other people and exhibit positive goodness in the face of insult & assault. He goes on in Romans 14vv13-19 saying that we are to make every effort to do what leads to peace & mutual edification. We are not place stumbling blocks in front of others! Mutual encouragement and edification is more important than personal rights. By being peacemakers we will according to James 3v18 show real wisdom which reaps a harvest of righteousness.
As Christian disciples we have the gift of peace with God from the God of peace (Philippians 4:4-9) given to us by Jesus! (John 14v27). Being peacemakers and having internal peace shows the fruit of the Spirit. And according to John 16v33, we have peace in troubled times & world through an untroubled, unfearful heart & mind.
How do we maintain peace within?
By living a life in obedience to Jesus we bear the fruit of righteousness, which is peace, quietness and confidence (Isaiah 32:17). A mind controlled by the Holy Spirit of peace gives us life and peace and total trust in God! (Isaiah 26v3; Romans 8v6). Lastly by being content whatever the situation enables the peace of God to guard your heart & mind. (Philippians 4v11-12)
For more to think about please do read James 4vv1-11. Ask yourself the following questions, writing them down if you can, and see how you respond or react to them. Why not share your answers with your spouse or a close friend, so that you can pray over any issues together.
- What areas of your life do you need peace in right now?
- Are there situations where you need peace to rule?
- When was the last time you asked the Spirit of peace to rule over a situation or relationship?