Kept in perfect peace

Peace. It seems almost laughable in today’s world that such a thing could even be claimed to exist. With wars taking place in various forms in countries across the globe, acts of violence on the rise, and tension between people destroying relationships left and right, we could probably all agree that we have a serious lack of peace today. But does that mean peace can’t be found? Depends on what you call peace.

Google defines peace as “freedom from disturbance; quiet and tranquility.” I don’t know about you, but by that definition, there’s never any peace to be had in the world! For who could hope for no disturbance whatsoever in a world ruled by sin?

Let’s take a look at God’s definition of peace.

First of all, peace is one of God’s character traits, so it must exist.

Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times in every way. – 2 Thessalonians 3:17a

…the God of peace will be with you. – Philippians 4:9

But it’s apparently not the kind of peace Google suggests, as evidenced by Jesus’ words to His disciples.

I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world. – John 16:33

Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. – Matthew 10:34

God also commends those who live in peace and commands Christians to live at peace with each other and all men.

If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. – Romans 12:18

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. – Matthew 5:9

Let him turn away from evil and do good; let him seek peace and pursue it. – 1 Peter 3:11

If, then, peace is not the absence of trouble, what is it?

A clear definition of peace is never specifically given in the Bible, but I would venture to say peace is, like many other virtues in the Scriptures, something that requires positive action. Just as love is not simply a nice feeling, and is instead action, peace is not an idyllic state free of disturbance or a calm feeling. Living at peace with others is a command (Romans 12:18); it’s something you can choose to do, by not fighting with, resenting, accusing, or speaking harshly against someone. But that’s only one kind of peace. What about the peace Jesus promised His disciples amidst tribulation (John 16:33)? What about the peace described in these verses?

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope. – Romans 15:13

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. – John 14:27

This is the kind of peace I would describe as “peace of mind” or “peace in the heart.” Some people agree that peace in relationships can be actively pursued, but not this kind of peace. But this is the peace the world is desperately, hungrily searching for amidst the chaos and pain surrounding them.

Some turn to Buddhism with its self-mediation. Others opt for feel-good messages like “don’t hang around people who make you unhappy” or “just do makes you happy” or “do whatever it takes to help yourself.” They search for happiness, hoping along the way they’ll find peace. Peace with others, their past, and themselves.

But as someone once wisely stated, “A person who is not at peace with God cannot be at peace with himself.”

True peace is not absence of disturbance. True peace is found in the middle of a storm.

I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world. – John 16:33

True peace does not come from your self-love, or doing what makes you happy. True peace comes from doing what God says is right.

Great peace have those who love your law; nothing can make them stumble. – Psalm 119:165

My son, do not forget my teaching, but let your heart keep my commandments, for length of days and years of life and peace they will add to you. – Proverbs 3:1-2

Peace is being right with God and trusting He is working all things for good (Romans 8:28). It is independent of circumstances and closely tied to joy. Paul was able to have peace and joy in prison. His letter to the Philippian church is fascinating because of the sheer joy and peace radiating from his words. He trusted God despite his circumstances, and had joy and peace as a result of it.

So, dear friend, how do we find peace in the frightening world around us? Do we somehow will it into existence? Do we simply need to think positive thoughts and do more of what makes us happy? Of course not! Peace comes from God, but as I said before, it is an active choice. What is this choice? It is a choice to do right and follow God, yes, but it is also a choice of the mind and heart. Just as joy is very much an attitude, peace depends on your mindset. The following verses illustrate this concept.

You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you. – Isaiah 26:3

For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. – Romans 8:6

Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. – Colossians 3:2

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. – Philippians 4:6-7

Do you see the theme of these verses? A peaceful heart and mind is a heart and mind stayed on Christ. Instead of letting worrisome thoughts and the troubles and pains of this life dominate your thoughts, set your mind on God. Meditate not on yourself, but on His attributes. Praise Him, rather than complaining about your life. Bring your worries to Him and trust Him to take care of them and you.

God has not promised a world free of trouble, but He gives peace to those who set their minds on Him. Make a habit of seeking Him, and when the hard times come, your mind will already be trained to go to Him. In a world devoid of peace, may our lives be living examples of a peace that surpasses all understanding.

7 Comments

  1. That was So. Absolutely. Amazing. I loved that so much!! Amen!! For an over worrier like me, this was beyond touching! Such brilliant writing, endowed with such beautiful Scriptures!
    So deep of an idea here, and so true!! 😀
    Keep up the grand work, my friend!! *handclaps*
    Peace †

  2. This is a really interesting way to put it, Amanda! I hadn’t completely thought about this, but you’re so right.

    I’ve had a lot of hard things happen in my life, especially involving my family. And you know one thing I’ve learned? As much as it’s never easy to go through hard things (they’re called hard for a reason!) I can have peace with every situation. For me, it’s just learning to trust God more and more. Knowing that He has a reason and a purpose in everything that’s going on. Knowing that He can handle it and I don’t have to.

    When people say things like, “Oh my goodness, I don’t know how you handle it!” I say, “God is the one handling it.” Peace is possible, and it’s not just a state of mind; it’s a choice, it’s important, and it’s totally attainable.

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