Lately I've been dwelling on thoughts about God's peace. From a personal standpoint, it is something I have been struggling with as of late, and I'd love to share some of those thoughts with you.
First and foremost, true peace comes from Christ alone. Isaiah 26:12 says "Lord, you establish peace for us; all that we have accomplished you have done for us." Peace is not something we bring about as a result of our own actions (no matter how righteous they are.) Peace is established by God, and any good we have done is because of his grace.
Secondly, peace is a result of the spirit at work in us. Everyone loves to recite Galations 5:22..."But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no law." Peace is a fruit of the spirit. This leads into my next point.
Peace stems from a mindset, not an emotion. This means that it is something I may have to work at from time to time. Now, to be clear, this does not mean that God's peace is the result of man's effort. This is far from the truth, as we already know that true peace is found in Jesus and no one else. What I mean to say here is that peace, like all the other fruit of the spirit, is not just some feeling that we get. It is worked out over time as we embrace the truth, say 'no' to our flesh, and pursue godliness. All of this is done through Christ alone.
I think this is the toughest one for me. It is so much easier to think that peace is an emotion that just settles on us when the time is right. If this were the case, it would allow us to sit back, relax, and indulge in spiritual laziness. Praise be to God, he has much better plans for us! He knows that our emotions are fragile. That is why I thank him for verses like 1 John 3:10, which says that "God is greater than our hearts." In a similar manner, his peace is greater than our hearts because it is not at the mercy of our emotions.
Peace is the result of a heart at rest. This is where that mindset comes in. Our hearts are put to rest when we know the truth and cling to God's promises. When things go south, I am so quick to forget all that God has promised me (as if his Word isn't enough to remind me day in and day out.) Worse yet, I let my problems cloud my view of who God is and I forget about his very nature. In the words of Mark Altrogge, God isn't good only when I prosper, and he isn't true only when I'm filled up. He is not king only when I am carefree, or God only when I am well. He is good when I am poor and needy. He is true when I'm parched and dry. He still reigns in the deepest valley, and he is still God in the darkest night. This mindset requires the core of our relationship with Christ...faith.
Peace comes from faith in the Prince of Peace. It is found when we understand who we are in light of who God is and all that he's done for us. When we look to the cross and truly understand even a fraction of what Jesus has done for us, we can take comfort in our identity in him. This is huge! Our identity in Christ is what frees us to "set our minds on things above" rather than our circumstances below. As a result, we find hope and lasting peace.
Peace is for God's glory...not ours. We reap the benefits of his grace, but ultimately, it is all for him. The goal of this is that others may see the fruit of our salvation and praise him.
Whatever you face today, don't be afraid to wrestle with God's peace. Cry out to Jehovah Shalom and ask him to quiet your restless heart. Take comfort in the knowledge his Word supplies and "pursue peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart." (2 Timothy 2:22.)
"Then you will know that I am the Lord; those who hope in me will not be disappointed." (Isaiah 49:23b)
"Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace." (Colossians 3:15)