By Jennifer Waddle, ibelieve.com
I still remember the old Coca Cola commercial from the seventies, with young men and women standing on a hillside, holding ice-cold bottles of soda, and singing words about peace and harmony. It brings back wistful memories of my childhood and stirs up a bit of wishful thinking that perhaps we truly can get along. Yet, all these decades later, it seems like world peace is farther away than ever.
What is peace, really? We can look at it through a common lens and characterize it as calmness, quietness, tranquility, and contentment. Or, we can look at it through a Biblical lens and discover the true peace that God offers.
In a world of chaos and instability, there is a peace that exceeds all human understanding. It travels far beyond pretty hillsides and sing-song melodies. It’s a certainty that resides deep in the heart of every believer, no matter what is going on in the world around them.
Here are a few ways you can have the peace God offers.
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Receive God's Peace
"The Lord will give strength to His people; The Lord will bless His people with peace." (Psalm 29:11)
If someone offered you a free trip to your top bucket-list destination, you would probably receive it with ecstatic joy. After all, it’s easy to embrace things that will make us happy and give us instant gratification, isn’t it?
However, Jesus offers us something much more fulfilling. In John 14:27, He said to His disciples, “Peace I leave with you. My peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives.”
The peace He offered then, and still offers today, is nothing like the superficial offers from the world. Although there is nothing wrong with enjoying things in life, those things will never last beyond the moment. God’s peace is offered in good times and bad. It is always there for the taking. The big question for us is, will we receive it with hearts wide open?
"The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you." (Philippians 4:9)
Seek His Peace
"Turn away from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it." (Psalm 34:14)
We tend to like things that come easy to us, don’t we? Having to pursue something usually causes us to quickly lose steam and start chasing something more convenient. But there is nothing more promising than the peace of the Lord that surpasses all understanding—the peace of knowing that He is God and there is no other. That is the kind of peace we should pursue each and every day!
“He who would love life and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips from speaking deceit. Let him turn away from evil and do good; let him seek peace and pursue it.” (1 Peter 3:10-11)
Keep His Peace
"You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You." (Isaiah 26:3)
Of all the verses about peace, I think Isaiah 26:3 is my favorite. It’s the perfect reminder that peace is always within reach and can be kept by remaining centered on Christ. It also links peace to trust, which is key to our understanding of God’s peace.
Do you trust Him? In every circumstance, do you trust God to settle your heart and give you peace to walk through it? Focus your thoughts on the truths of God, trust Him to work all things for your good, and rest in the peace only He can give.
“The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make His face shine upon you, and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up His countenance upon you, and give you peace.” (Numbers 6:24-26)
Ask for His Peace
"If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.” (John 15:7)
In John chapter 15, Jesus promised that if we abide in Him, and His words abide in us, we can ask for anything we wish and He will give it. This isn’t to say we are given permission to ask for earthly treasures that moth and rust destroy. It is, however, a beautiful reminder that we can ask for anything in His will, according to His word, and He will provide it.
Peace is one of those gifts that God freely gives to those who ask! In fact, it is one of His characteristics, the fruit of His Spirit. Peace is an element of the very essence of God. So, don’t be afraid to ask your Father in heaven for this beautiful gift.
If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him! (Matthew 7:11)
Embrace His Peace
“These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)
There are those who seem to have a naturally cheerful disposition, who always smile and rarely complain. Then there are the rest of us!
In this world, we will have trials. I’m afraid there is no escaping them. However, we can have God’s peace by remembering we are not of this world. We live in it, and experience some of its chaos, but we are not of it. We are set apart for the glory of God. Our hope is not in this world, but in Christ alone, and in Him we have true and lasting peace. By His blood, we have overcome sin and death! These are things we can rejoice over, while embracing the peace that transcends every trial.
“How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news, who proclaims peace, who brings glad tidings of good things, who proclaims salvation, who says to Zion, ‘Your God reigns!’” (Isaiah 52:7)
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Remain in His Peace
“Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times in every way. The Lord be with you all.” (2 Thessalonians 3:16)
To have peace at all times and in every way sure would change the way we live, wouldn’t it? No more would we jump to conclusions, overreact, or make decisions from a place of distress.
But is it even possible to have peace at all times?
In 2 Thessalonians, chapter 3, Paul’s farewell to the church included a benediction that the Lord would give them peace at all times and in every way. They were words of encouragement as he closed his letter to them, praying for their faith in the midst of opposition. He wasn’t saying they would never have worry, doubt, or fear, but he was covering them with words of hope.
For us, Paul’s words could be a template for our own prayers to God. Each day, we can ask the Lord of peace to give us His peace at all times and in every way. We can remain in the fold of His presence by His Spirit who lives in us. And, we can embrace the certainty God offers through salvation in His Son.
There will be hard times; times when peace feels far away. But even in the darkest valley, we can know without a doubt that God’s peace is within reach. We don’t need television commercials to muster up warm and fuzzy feelings, all we need is the true and lasting peace God offers.
“The Lord your God in your midst, the Mighty One, will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing.” (Zephaniah 3:17)
Jennifer Waddle is best known for encouraging Christian women in faith and life. She is the author of several books, including Prayer Worrier: Turning Every Worry into Powerful Prayer, and is a contributor for WomensMinistryTools.com, Crosswalk.com and abide.is. She resides with her family near the foothills of the Rocky Mountains—her favorite place on earth. You can find free resources at EncouragementMama.com or find her books here. Jennifer is also available, via email, at [email protected]. She reads every single email that lands in her inbox, and would be honored to pray for your requests.
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