How are we supposed to be at peace when it feels like the world around us has gone mad? Some days it feels like an impossible task.
But let’s really think about it for a minute. What does peace look like to you? A home where everyone gets along? A calendar with more open days than filled days? The absence of conflict in the world around you?
First of all, sign me up for all of these things. 😉 Second, while these scenarios are desirable and may make you feel peaceful for a while, they are too dependent on outside circumstances to allow for true, unshakeable peace.
True peace transcends our circumstances, as paradoxical as it sounds. Peace is one of the attributes of the Holy Spirit, which means we need His power in order to live in peace, despite our circumstances.
For the Christian, true peace is a gift from God, but it also comes from deep trust. We trust that God’s plan is ultimately best, so we walk in peace. We trust that God is love and nothing we can ever do will change his great love for us, so we walk in peace. We trust that, in the end, God will right all the wrongs of this crazy world, so we walk in peace. Usually.
It’s all too easy to fall into a state of inner conflict or unrest, and when we find ourselves in this place, we need to examine our souls. If peace comes from deep-rooted trust in God, then conversely, conflict comes from distrust, whether we acknowledge it or not.
We don’t see God moving in the way we’ve been praying for, so we doubt his goodness and our hearts are conflicted. We aren’t convinced God’s love is unconditional, and our hearts are conflicted as we ponder what that means for us. We see people around us doing terrible things and being honored by the world, and we are conflicted as we question whether God will bring justice to the hard situations. (If trusting God is a challenge, check out this relevant post from awhile back: The Huge Truth My Characters Taught Me About Trusting God.)
Peace is largely the result of trust—honest, true, deep-rooted trust. It takes courage to attain peace, because it takes courage to faithfully trust God in all things. And peace is certainly not the result of a lack of conflict in the world around us. I can assure you that’s not going away before Jesus comes back.
How do we go about procuring this peace, especially since it sometimes feels like a moving target?
- We spend time with God. Not just a few minutes in the morning, but throughout the day. We play worship music, have conversations with others, talk to God about random things throughout our days, and get to know him on a deeper level.
- We actively display our trust by submitting to him.
- We pray and ask him for his peace to fill our lives.
- We remember that Jesus himself walks before, beside, and behind us through all things.
- We bring him into every part of life until our hearts are entirely yielded to him and once we do that, we don’t stop there because we know it’s a daily process that is easily undone if we let down our guard.
- When we lose our peace, we pray for more strength and more faith and we declare our trust in God until our hearts and minds are at peace once again, filled with confidence in his trustworthiness and goodness.
Striving for peace is a goal of mine this year. Maybe it is for you, too. If so, join me in lingering on these verses and promises from God:
And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. –Philippians 4:7
I have said this to you, so that in me you may have peace. In the world you face persecution. But take courage; I have conquered the world! –John 16: 33
Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times in all ways. The Lord be with all of you. –2 Thessalonians 3:16
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid. –John 14:27
I will both lie down and sleep in peace; for you alone, O Lord, make me lie down in safety. –Psalm 4:8
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. –Romans 15:13
Keep on doing the things that you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, and the God of peace will be with you. –Philippians 4:9
The effect of righteousness will be peace, and the result of righteousness, quietness and trust forever. –Isaiah 32:17
To set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. –Romans 12:18
Print out these verses and hang them where you’ll see them every day. Share them with a friend or relative going through a hard time. Nothing beats Scripture when it comes to speaking peace into our lives.
I pray, as you read this, that God would fill you with unshakeable peace and that your trust in his love and his goodness would permeate into your heart and soul more than ever before. Amen.