I have been meditating on Biblical peace lately, and asking the Lord for more insight into being a "person of peace" in this crazy, conflicted world. Here are a few of my thoughts, in blog form.
The word “peace,” in my own opinion, seems like a word that has been tossed around so much over the years that the Biblical meaning of it has become increasingly defiled. It appears to be the buzz word that people use in this day to justify making unwise or impulsive decisions.
If I am honest, I believe the word peace has become a mask to cover underlying anxieties and escape accountability in areas of non-Kingdom comfort. I've done it myself. We all have. But I think if we understood true peace, we would do so much better.
The Biblical understanding of peace is richer than our finite minds can comprehend! When we see it for what it truly is and grasp it in our hearts, I believe peace is key to standing against counterfeit cultures.
It is a key to standing - at all - in the near future.
For a few years, I was heavily involved in the leadership of a Biblical Ministry College. Every year, we would start with enthusiastic students who all felt called and had come on the very Word of the Lord for their lives. Yet by the middle of the year or just before graduation, there would be someone who felt the discomfort of what God was trying to do in their inner world. Yearly we would have at least one student come and say that God was now calling them to quit the program early (as if God had changed His mind). And most certainly, if they could not give a good reason for leaving, they would say defensively that it was a decision that they had “peace” about making. Often when that word was utilized, it left little room for challenge or push back from leadership, and no room at all for accountability in the heart of the student who started the year so convinced of their calling to the school.
So many people abort their destinies because of fear, and they call it peace. I have often missed out on God-assignments because I knew deep inside how difficult it would be, and I would make a decision and say it was made with "peace." So let me say from experience, this is counterfeit peace. Jesus defines peace in an entirely different way.
Peace I leave you, My peace I give you; not as the world gives, do I give to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled, nor fearful. (John 14:27 - NASB)
Peace I leave with you; My [perfect] peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be afraid. [Let My perfect peace calm you in every circumstance and give you courage and strength for every challenge.] (John 14:27 - AMP)
Let's look at how our natural world defines peace.
Peace as defined by the world:
1. GOOGLE: freedom from disturbance
2. DICTIONARY.COM: freedom of the mind from annoyance, distraction, anxiety, an obsession,
3. MIRRIAM-WEBSTER: freedom from disturbance; freedom from war or conflict.
Understanding peace as “freedom from disturbance,” is definitely an easy concept to understand. A great illustration of this is the story I told earlier of students quitting the program before graduation. Things get to be a bit difficult financially and pressure starts to occur that causes stress and perhaps a bit of anxiety, potentially even pressing some suppressed internal buttons, and it is easy to want to run from the “disturbance!”
No one likes conflict, so to be free from it, a person will automatically feel as sense of relief – which is unfortunately mistaken for peace. It makes sense to the natural human mind and flesh that relief from conflict would equal peace.
But if you are born-again into the Kingdom of God, then you are no longer a mere human and have no need to regard yourself according to the flesh (1 Corinthians 3:3; 2 Corinthians 5:16-21). You now have access to true and lasting peace.
True peace surpasses all understanding. You cannot comprehend it because it is not of this world.
Jesus says that He gives peace, but not as the world gives. If relief from hardship was how Jesus would have defined peace, He never would have gone to the cross on our behalf. He sweat blood and asked that the cup be removed (Luke 22), but then He instead chose to become our peace.
Kingdom peace is making a decision to stand even when everything around you may be shaking. It involves Lordship and trust. It looks like knowing that the Word of God will not waiver, and will always remain true (Numbers 23:19). It sounds like praise in the midst of the disturbance, and declaring His promises over your soul until your soul comes into submission to your Spirit. It is the mark of one who genuinely follows the One, true Jesus and not a worldly imposter.
Following Jesus costs EVERYTHING. Read the gospels if you do not believe me. And when you obey Him, there will absolutely still be a level of chaos, conflict and hardship (again, read the gospels...the whole Bible, actually!). But the peace that He gives is beyond our understanding. This kind of peace comes with FULL surrender. You cannot understand it or even completely articulate it because it is a heavenly reality and there is nothing like it on earth.
Have you experienced true and lasting peace that only comes from a deep connection with Jesus? Not just the kind of peace that you feel when you have made a decision to side-step “disturbance” or “conflict” – that is fragile and is just a fleeting emotion. Lasting peace allows a person to sleep in the storm, to walk on the water, and to do hard things.
I invite you into this realm of your inheritance as a born-again child of God.
Be courageous, dear ones! Let true peace be your portion.
Philippians 4:6-7: 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.
Psalm 46:1-3: God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging.
Photo by Joseph Barrientos on unsplash.