When you hear the word peace, what comes to mind?
Maybe it’s doves, the peace symbol, people doing the two-fingered peace sign or does your mind go to the absence of peace and instead conjure up pictures of war, unrest, and violence?
The dictionary tells us peace is;
a state or period in which there is no war, or a war has ended.
freedom from disturbance; tranquillity.
Sadly, we do seem to live in a world that is devoid of peace. We listen to the news, read the paper or social media and all we hear is doom and gloom, murder, war, and youth violence, especially if you live here in South London, where I live.
How can we avoid getting overwhelmed and weary by it all or feeling like we can’t make a difference?
Well, thankfully as Christians we have the power and attributes of the Holy Spirit dwelling inside us and one of the fruits of the spirit, is peace;
Gal 5:22-23 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.
Jesus was the ultimate peacemaker, and just like Him we are called to be peacemakers too. In fact, one of His names is The Prince of Peace, and we are created in His image, so it means we too are a people of peace.
We need to live in a place of peace and we can do this by following the wise words in scripture where we are told to;
1 Pet 5:7 Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.
We were never supposed to live a life riddled with anxiety and worry because we should bring all our stuff to God and lay it at His feet. When we pray we tell God everything that is causing us to feel unrest in our souls and He will soothe us and bear the load, if we let Him.
Phil 6:7 (MSG version) Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the centre of your life.
I love this message version of the scripture, and the thought of God displacing worry in our lives, because if we are full of Him there can be no room for anything else. Living a life in harmony with Him can combat any unrest or stress we feel.
The meaning of peace in the bible doesn’t really mean an end to war and troubles, in fact quite the opposite, it says we are to expect troubles in this life.
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.”
So, again God is trying to make it clear to us that all we need to do is come to Him and we will find peace for our souls, the perfect antidote to the troubles in our lives. Peace also looks like harmony amongst brothers and sisters of the faith and wherever God plants you, in your family, workplace, college, school etc.
I know this to be true in my life as I have just come out of the most stressful, worrying season of my life, to date. As I have supported The Lovely Mr B and family whilst my Mr B has done battle with cancer, there have been times when I have felt overwhelmed and unable to manage the load and those times have seen me crying out to God like no other.
He has come through for me time after time, to bring comfort and peace to me that I could then give away to my husband and my family. He has revealed Himself so many times in amazing ways, through messages, flowers, gifts, prayers, and on and on where He has wanted me to know that He had it all and I didn’t need to worry. All I had to do was lean into Him and trust Him at His word, which is what I chose to do.
During moments when we were at doctors’ appointments, battling infections and much more, we felt a tangible sense of God’s peace over us and it really does pass ALL human understanding because it’s a supernatural peace that you just know isn’t your own because who in their right mind feels peaceful collecting results about the effectiveness of cancer treatment! But, in fact we had so much peace over those results we actually experienced joy on the day, before we even got them.
Phil 4:7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
I love this quote by Graham Cooke;
Peace isn’t something God merely has, it’s who He is.
Peace is a ruling power that overwhelms anxiety, fear and panic, and it will always be stronger than any adversity we ever meet!
Time to change gears and think about peace in a different context and if like me, you are someone who hates conflict or confrontation it may be time to think about the following question…
Is avoiding conflict bringing me any peace?
This is something I have been mulling over and when I’m trying to avoid a confrontation I know that I start to get churned up inside and I can’t settle as I try and find ways to avoid dealing with the situation (I can’t be alone in this, can I?). Avoiding the person or even the situation can be done, but is often difficult to manage, inconvenient and not helpful in the end. In fact, it puts me in mind of an ostrich with its head buried firmly in the sand. Eventually it has to come up and take a breath and as if by magic, the problem hasn’t gone away, even if it’s not currently staring you in the face and this is incredibly unhealthy for us as humans, let alone Christians.
Can anyone relate?
I am starting to make a conscious effort to not be someone who avoids confrontation but instead, to actively seek out opportunities to bring some peace and resolution into situations and to be the peacemaker. This doesn’t mean backing down completely on stuff that I hold strong views on or compromising who I am, but it does mean listening well to the other person and committing to staying in a conversation until common ground can be found.
It means believing that God can bring peace into even the most difficult of relationships or situations and that He wants to do it in this one, even when it seems impossible to human thinking. It isn’t easy by any means and it’s actually pretty uncomfortable and can make you squirm, go red in the face or even cry as you try and work things through, but it has to be worth it so that you can be at peace.
Also, we are at a distinct advantage as Christians, as we have the wonderful Holy Spirit with us and we can ask for help for the conversation to go smoothly, for both parties to walk away with integrity intact, to be able to listen well, really listen, and for creative solutions to bring resolution that both parties are happy with. This may mean that you aren’t the best of friends and that’s okay as long as you can walk away knowing that you have made the peace.
How are you doing with that?
In an often-troubled world remember this, we are not responsible for the whole of humanity and bringing world peace, but we do have our part to play, and that looks like bringing peace into your sphere of influence and being a person of peace, just like Jesus!
Just imagine a world where everybody did that!