The word “peace” evokes many ideals, all of which seem impossible in the current state of our world. We imagine a glamorous beauty pageant contestant speaking of her desire for world peace or a politician explaining his plan to implement peace in other nations or a celebrity endorsing the importance of organizations and programs that eradicate poverty and cruelty. We define peace as lack of war, fighting, destruction, fear and anguish.
Sometimes we define peace as a feeling of tranquility. We see an image of an exclusive beach resort, or a pristine mountain landscape and conjure up ideas of how peaceful that place must be. Sometimes we’ll see a friend’s Instagram feed of her reading a book in the sunlight, or her smiling and hugging a best friend or an image she took of a flower in her backyard, and we think, “she must live an untroubled life.” Certainly, peace is defined by a state of calmness, freedom from discord or strife and harmony in personal relationships.
But, those of us who know the Lord, have at one time experienced the peace of Christ, and it certainly makes us hopeful for the absence of evil, but we most likely experience His peace through moments of rest, rejuvenation and retreat. Yes, peace is something as broad as the healing of the entire world, but it is also as simple as time spent in the Lord’s presence. Both, however, revolve around the Lord. Many will seek peace, but few will find it because they aren’t willing to look in the right place.
Christ’s blood, shed on the cross, is what makes peace possible. As Jesus nears the time of His crucifixion He says, “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.” (John 16: 33) Not only do we find peace in Jesus, but we already have peace in Jesus. Even when we feel like He’s not with us we can still find peace in Him. God’s great peace comes when He overcomes the world, which is when there will be no more trouble. According to scripture, this has already happened, even though we haven’t realized it, the Lord has. So, we are actively a part of the world realizing God’s sufficient peace. Ultimate peace will come when the Messiah returns.
In the meantime, what do we do to realize His peace? Jesus says, “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) The Lord sustains our peace and peace leads us toward our creator. Peace is found by focusing on God’s promises and seeking the Lord’s will. In a world filled with chaos and disorder, we can find comfort and peace by simply pursuing God’s goodness.
Turning from evil and doing good is a key element to maintaining a peaceful life. The Bible regularly speaks of how the righteous experience peace, while the unrighteous encounter destruction and disarray. Romans 8:5-6 says, “Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace.” Peace comes from being in tune or in step with God. It comes to those whose minds are steadfast and those who trust in the Lord.
God is not a God of disorder but of peace (1 Corinthians 14:33) so if we follow His leading, then we will freely encounter His peace because peace comes when a man’s ways are pleasing to the Lord (Proverbs 16:7). Our peace flows easily (like a river) when we pay attention to the commands of God. It’s His mercy that guides our feet along the path He desires for our lives, a path of peace.
Peace comes from worshiping Him only, offering Him thanksgiving and praise while following His ways. Following the ways of the Lord isn’t formulaic, it isn’t making sure you obey the Ten Commandments and go to church every Sunday. It’s more than that. God wants you to know Him intimately; He wants to have a relationship with you. He wants you to share your heart with Him through journaling and prayer so He can share His heart with you through words of encouragement and scripture. It’s not living your life according to a checklist and never doing anything wrong, but instead, it’s listening to the leading of the Lord. What does He want you to do, who is He calling you to become? It takes time and work to understand the voice of the Lord, but it’s easy to hear. Especially as you become closer to Him, your conscience will begin to sound more and more like the voice of God because your desires will be so in tune with His. Once you’ve accepted your place with Him, you can begin to grow in faith and become more righteous. After you are declared “right with God” or “justified” by simply believing in Him you will have peace through Jesus Christ. (Romans 5: 1-2)
When your life is in order and you’re embracing the peace of God, because you’ve followed His teachings and you’re pursuing His dreams for your life, then you’ll become confident in who you are and where you’re going in life. Isaiah 32:17 says, ‘The fruit of righteousness will be peace; the effect of righteousness will be quietness and confidence forever.”