Ever heard people talk about inner peace, or finding their bliss? To some people this sounds cool; to others it might sound like a load of new age mumbo jumbo. People try self-help books, crash diets, inspirational seminars, meditating, various religions and practices. The question is why does none of it last?
The reason is that peace is not a feeling to conjure up, or a philosophy to follow. Peace is a person.
The person of Jesus Christ.
“For he himself is our peace.”
– Ephesians 2:14-18
His title, one of many, is the Prince of Peace. My pastor often quotes the saying, “No Jesus, no peace. Know Jesus, know peace.” If the peace you experience doesn’t really seem to last, it is because it’s like separating a coal from a fireplace and throwing it out onto the concrete hearth. Slowly it cools, leaving you wondering why you now feel cold and alone. And where you can get your next fix.
Jesus is the fire.
You can find lasting peace in Jesus because he is in control of everything and unchanging. The man spoken about in the bible died but he rose again and is still alive and well today, and he hasn’t updated himself to keep up with the times. Remember that song, “He’s got the whole world in his hands…”? It is as true today as when God created the universe “through, and for and by” Jesus (Col 1:16). The same passage says, “He is before all things and in him all things hold together” (Col 1:17). Consider the fact that the only thing holding all your atoms together, or all the droplets of water in the world’s biggest ocean, is Jesus. So when he says he doesn’t change, we can trust it.
God has always been a God of peace, and Jesus is the “exact representation of his being” (Heb 1:3).
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 Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
– Isaiah 9:6
The bible makes it clear that God’s peace through Jesus is available to us through faith in him. Philippians 4:4-7 says, “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, 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.”
Peace comes from knowing that once you believe in Jesus and ask him to come into your life that all of your striving can cease. How many of us actually take that on board? Sometimes I feel like I should have it as a poster on my wall. “Hey Lil, now that Jesus is here all of your striving can cease.”
Religion says, “Try really hard your whole life and maybe, just maybe, you might be good enough to scrape into heaven as a servant in the back shed at the end of it all.” God says, “As soon as you believe in my Son I adopt you into my family. You are a child of God, seated in heavenly places and co-heirs with Christ. Forget the back shed, I am preparing a bedroom for you inside my house. Because Jesus already paid what you couldn’t pay, you now have access to forgiveness and a restored relationship with me. All you have to do is believe, repent and receive.”
Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.
– Romans 5:1
What a relief. Our eternity doesn’t depend on us. Religion makes it about us, but God makes it about Jesus, the Prince of Peace.
In Matthew 3 when the Holy Spirit appears as a dove and lands on Jesus after his baptism, we learn something else about God’s character. It was recently pointed out by our pastor Russ that a dove won’t land on someone who is moving around or panicking. It will land on a still and peaceful person. Psalm 46:10 says, “Be still and know that I am God.” This is talking about the peace that comes from trusting that God is in control and is working for our good.
One of the ways people will be able to recognise us as children of God is our peacefulness, even in difficult situations or tragedy. As one example, Paul and Silas were singing worship songs to God while in prison (Acts 16). As another, in 1873 when a man named Horatio G. Spafford wrote the famous hymn It is Well With My Soul, it was right after his four daughters had just died in a shipwreck.
Jesus can bring peace to a troubled and anxious mind. In the gospels he delivers many people tormented by demons.
“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
Peace to relationships in turmoil.
The most obvious being the human race separated from God by our sin, but Jesus’ blood paid the price to restore shalom, peace, to that relationship too. God also has the power to restore marriages and bring estranged families back together. He can bring relationships back into harmony and he wants to partner with us to do it.
Rom 12:18 “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.”
Peace in the midst of illness.
God allowed Satan to take Job’s wealth, children and health from him in a very short space of time to test his heart. Job’s faith in God was real, because his response was not filled with curses and anger, but submission and trust.
“Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised.” – Job 1:21
Peace during financial insecurity.
Is 54:10 “Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed,” says the Lord, who has compassion on you.”
I will leave you with this one last scripture.
John 16:33 “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.”
Further scriptures about peace:
Psalm 119:165 “Great peace have those who love your law, and nothing can make them stumble.”
Is 55:12 “You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace.”
Isaiah 57:2 “Those who walk uprightly enter into peace; they find rest as they lie in death.”
Zech 8:19 “Love truth and peace.”
Zech 9:10 “He will proclaim peace to the nations.”
Peace is a fruit of the Holy Spirit (Gal 5:22-23). While a gift is given in an instant, fruit is grown over months of sun, watering and tending.
Col 3:15 says, “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace.”
http://staugustine.com/living/religion/2014-10-16/story-behind-song-it-well-my-soul, sourced 14 October 2017.
All bible verses are from the NIV translation.