The Lasting Peace of God
Finding Gods Peace
"Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid." - John 14:27 NIV
People have been searching for peace since the existence of mankind. With every war comes a movement for peace; with every rebellion comes a plea for peace, and with every human struggle comes a journey for peace. We are always searching for something that God has already given us, yet we keep hopelessly looking for it in the very place He tells us not to - the world itself! And while we may think we have found even a moment's peace, we find all too often that it was fleeting and unfulfilling.
We tend to see peace as an end-result of something that has been turbulent, such as war or times of difficulty. But really, peace is more than that - in fact, what we think is peace is really just a temporary period of "calm before the storm", as we can be sure wars, struggles and difficulties will soon come again. If we only see peace as the end of something, we may very well miss out on the inner "everyday peace" that God intended for us to have! And it keeps us in a never-ending and frustrating cycle of “finding peace”, only to lose it again once another struggle comes along. Lasting peace should be our ultimate goal – the kind of peace that outlasts the next crisis.
We look for peace in well-meaning places - music, nature, books and even in other people. And while these are good places to refresh and rejuvenate ourselves, they cannot give us everlasting peace - that peace that can only come from God! We may FEEL peaceful by taking a long walk in the woods and getting close to nature, or by reading a motivational book or listening to an uplifting speaker, but there again, that peace is only temporary and can fade as quickly as melting snow on a warm day. It is not a true inner peace - only a surface outer peace. It is a peace that we put on, like a coat, when its cold outside; but then take off when we go back inside. Sooner or later, we’re going to wear that coat out, or outgrow it and on the next cold day, realize in vain that our old, worn out coat no longer fits or keeps us warm. That is why God says His peace is NOT as the world gives, because He knew the "peace" the world gives is not an ever-lasting peace. The “peace” the world gives is like that old coat – it will eventually wear out and leave us “out in the cold” when we need it the most! God’s peace is warm, fits perfect every time and will never wear out, nor will we ever outgrow it! It will not only fit us perfectly on the inside, it will fit perfectly OUTSIDE as well!
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
I think everyone will agree that as long as we're in this world, we will have troubles - God even said so in the verse above. But He also tells us not to let the troubles of the world dishearten us. How? By taking heart in HIM, the One who has overcome ALL the trouble in the world for US! He died on the cross for OUR troubles! Does that mean we won't HAVE troubles in this world? Of course not - He never said we wouldn't. But what He did say is that we would have PEACE in the midst of our troubles - not a life without troubles! If we are looking for an end to our troubles and a world with nothing but peace, we are going to be disappointed time after time because there is no such thing as a "world peace" (unless you’re a beauty pageant contestant! Lol!) And that is why so many people miss out on REAL peace - they are looking for peace in the world, instead of peace within - the kind of peace that can ONLY come from God!
"..The LORD make his face shine on youand be gracious to you;
the LORD turn his face toward you and give you peace.”’- Numbers 6:25-26 NIV
Again and again in the Bible God is GIVING us his peace. Giving it us - not telling us to go look for it or pray for it, or even sacrifice for it. He is GIVING IT TO US - it’s a gift - all we have to do is take it - just like our salvation. But being humans, we think something free is either a scam or not worth much, so we take the hard way out - we struggle, we go on long, soul-searching sabbaticals, or endure difficult struggles thinking we've got to "pay our dues" to be worthy of it. Or we grab onto something we THINK is peace and squeeze it till we realize it’s just an empty, void promise of peace. Why do we not just TAKE the peace that God is offering us? Why can't we accept the gift of peace just as we accepted the gift of salvation? If God didn’t want us to have peace, He wouldn’t offer it to us! If God wanted us to struggle and be discouraged all our lives, he wouldn’t GIVE us His peace! Why do we always forget that God WANTS us to be happy and richly GIVES us all that we need to be happy? Why do we look for peace in all the WRONG places and blindly reject what God is so desperately trying to give us?
"For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace...” - Roman 8:6 NASB
One of my favorite rock songs of all times is by the 70's rock band, Boston - Peace of Mind. ""All I want is to have my peace of mind", the lyrics repeat over and over. I think that's what we ALL want - peace of mind, and the reason we don't have it is stated in the verse above; our minds are not set on the ONE that can give us peace - its set on the things of the flesh, or the things of the world. It’s like looking for a diamond in a coal mine - we're never going to find it because we're looking in the WRONG place! Oh sure, we may find something that LOOKS like peace, such as a good feeling we may get from a book, an inspirational song or a motivational speaker, but REAL peace is not a feeling that comes and goes - it is a LASTING and SATISFYING confidence that no matter what our trouble is, we have a secure inner calm knowing that God is our peace, no matter how unstable our lives may get. If we constantly set our minds on HIM, He has promised to fill us with His peace, a peace that will never fade, wear out or leave us. That is why we are never content when we try to find peace in the world - it’s not IN the world, it’s in God - our Father, Redeemer, Savior and Friend! God IS peace, and if we're a saved child of God, that peace comes as an added bonus with our salvation! We struggle harder to find peace in the world than we do when we’re in the heat of an actual battle! We set our minds on worldly ideas and concepts about peace, and when they let us down, we hopelessly move onto other things, or even worse, give up altogether and decide our lives will forever be full of struggles and unhappiness. World peace doesn’t exist – it is just a disappointing illusion.
"Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." - Philippians 4:6-7 NASB
What is the peace of God like? As stated in the verse above, it "surpasses all comprehension"; in other words, "words can't describe it"! We can't comprehend the peace of God unless we're His child, and even then, we can't fully understand or experience ALL the peace He has for us because the world is bound to try and steal it away! But again, He tells us not to worry or be anxious, but to pray with thanksgiving and let our requests be known to God anyway - even in the face of our troubles! And when we do that, His peace will surround us, envelop us and protect our hearts and minds against the troubles this world throws at us. God's peace is unshakable, unmovable and untouchable! To use another line from a famous Boston song, it’s truly "more than a feeling" - it’s an attitude of faith, a rock solid confidence, an inner, quiet calm. And peace isn't just what we feel when our trouble has ended, it’s a part of WHO we are every day, because we are a part of WHO it comes from - Jesus. His peace flows through us like blood through our veins, and sustains us every day in every situation!
"Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee." - Isaiah 26:3 KJV
God's peace is PERFECT - He promises to keep us in His PERFECT PEACE when we keep our mind on Him and trust in Him. There are not many (if any) things that are perfect in this world, but God's peace is. Perfect peace means it is a peace we can rely on, depend on, trust in, lean on, believe in and live by. The world's "peace" is shaky, flawed, untrue, deceiving and short-lived. Perfect peace can only be found in God; and why would you want anything less? If God is offering us perfect peace, why should we settle for less-than-perfect-peace? If you were offered a new car, would you turn it down for an old one? God is offering us perfect peace - we don't have to fix it, alter it or redesign it - it’s already perfect and even comes with a guarantee from God himself! If we want TRUE, perfect peace, it can only come from God! Perfect peace means we can remain peaceful - even in the face of trouble, struggles and even in death, as we will never be more at peace than when we die and go to Heaven - the ultimate place of perfect peace!
"Finally, brothers and sisters, rejoice! Strive for full restoration, encourage one another, be of one mind, live in peace. And the God of love and peace will be with you." - 2 Corinthians 13:11 NIV
So once we have God's peace, how do we keep it? Day to day troubles are surely going to come and the enemy is always trying to steal, kill and destroy our peace! I love what the verse above says to start with - it says for us to REJOICE! That means we should be HAPPY and JOYFUL! Peace starts with joy - our joy in the Lord is the beginning of real,lasting peace! People think they have to find peace first and then they will be happy. No, it’s just the opposite – be happy and joyful in the Lord and THEN you’ll have peace! Then it goes on to say to strive for restoration, to encourage one another and to be of one mind, living in PEACE! You see, peace is not just something we find and then store away for troubled times; it’s a lifestyle that we LIVE and SHARE with each other! Just as I am hopefully encouraging you through this hub, we should ALL be making an effort to get along with each other, encourage each other and LIVE IN PEACE with each other. Therefore, peace is not just something we GET; it’s something we GIVE - just as God has given it to us! By sharing our peace with others, God has promised us not only His peace, but His love as well! Let God's peace not only flow through you, but let it overflow into the lives of those around you! I believe the more we try to live in peace with others, the more peace God will bring to our own lives! In other words, the more peace you give away, the more peace God will give YOU!
"Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God." - Matthew 5:9 NIV
If we are truly children of God, we will be peacemakers - not just peace-searchers. God didn't just give us His peace for our own benefit, but so that we could help others discover the only true peace - the peace of God. By practicing peace, we are a shining example to others of what God's peace is really like. In other words, how can you be a peacemaker if you're all tensed up, worried, anxious, or stressed out about your troubles? How can you tell someone else about the peace of God if you don't have it yourself?? When someone else looks at you, do they SEE the true peace of God, or it is just a facade of peace - a mask you put on when you want someone to think you've got it all together when you really don't? You can't fake God's peace - you either have it or you don't. Its not something you decide you're going to have one day but not the next. God's peace stays with you always, even in your darkest moments. That doesn't mean life won't get you down or discourage you sometimes, but when it does, you learn how to take the focus off the trouble, and put it back on the One who gives you everlasting peace - God. Then His peace will shine through you like a laser beam from Heaven and you will find yourself wanting to be a peacemaker by living a life of peace. You’ll be a peace-giver as well as a peacemaker! However, sometimes being a peacemaker means fighting - not in the violent sense, but in the sense of fighting against the temptation to be negative, discouraged or depressed. AS I’ve said, the enemy comes to kill, steal and destroy everything we have, and that means our peace, as well. We have to use the peace God gives us to fight against our human will to give into Satan's temptations to bring us down. People tend to think peace is non-violent, passive and non-confrontational. But God's peace is a mighty weapon that enables us to "quietly and confidently" fight against the evils that the enemy tries to throw at us, in order that we may maintain the perfect peace God has given us. God's peace is very valuable, so we must protect and guard it, even if it means fighting for it once in a while!
"Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times and in every way. The Lord be with all of you." - 2 Thessalonians 3:16 NIV
God wants us to have peace "at all times and in every way"; not just when things are going well or when our prayers are being answered. That is because He knows our lives will be filled with struggles, troubles, hard times and disappointment. His peace is the only thing that can help us get through and survive those times. He knows we will be tempted to look for peace in the things of the world - in things that are temporary or short-lived. He knows that we may even get so desperate for peace that we fall prey to the sinful guises of peace the enemy tempts us with. That is why He gave us his peace for "all times" and "in every way". As long as we're living in this world, we NEED His peace - every minute and every hour of every day! It is vital that we meditate on God and His promises of peace EVERY DAY, fully understanding the magnitude of the gift of peace he has given us. We must freely accept the gift of peace God offers us and then share that peace with others. It is important to remember that the peace the world gives is an illusion and at best is only temporary. We can find moments of peace through beautiful songs, thought-provoking books, awe-inspiring pictures and by listening to uplifting and encouraging words of hope from others, But if we want true, long lasting, soul-satisfying and life-filling peace, we must look to the one and only Prince of Peace himself – Jesus Christ.
“For to us a child is born,to us a son is given,
and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” – Isaiah 9:6 NIV