I’ll be honest. I don’t really know how to begin this post today. I know where it’s going, but I’m not sure how to get there. I have so many thoughts going on in my mind this morning.
A photo shared by a friend of his brave wife who is battling cancer.
My grandmother’s sweet cousin who died early this morning and her family.
A friend who told me yesterday that funding for her job may not be available next year.
How all of these people need peace.
Don’t we all?
I mean, life seems like a series of one blow after another sometimes. It makes me think of wading in the ocean, preparing to jump the next wave. If ever you lose your footing, you just keep getting hit, don’t you? Even after you crawl back to the beach, you still feel a bit off balance. If you lie down on your blanket and close your eyes, you’ll find you’re still swaying to the rhythm of the rocking waves.
It’s a lot like lying down on your pillow at night and reliving the day’s events while anticipating tomorrow’s, too.
It’s exhausting, isn’t it?
All we need is peace, but it can be terribly hard to find sometimes.
Because this world doesn’t have it, and for some reason, that surprises us.
It’s like we didn’t listen when Jesus said, “In this world, you will have trouble…” (John 16:33)
Y’all, life isn’t easy. Ever since that first sin, even the ground has struggled against us. We’ve been striving and struggling since Adam and Eve left the garden, walking through a world that’s not perfect so we’ll start longing for one that is.
The Bible is beautiful in its symmetry. It begins with a perfect place, a place of peace, where wild animals walked with man and everything existed in harmony. It ends the same way, in a place where the lion and the lamb lie down together and people live in unity and communion with each other and with God.
We live somewhere in between.
Our hearts are longing for perfection and aching for the peace it will provide.
That’s why Jesus didn’t just promise us problems. He promised us peace.
He said, “I tell 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.” (John 16:33)
Jesus said that in the world, we will have trouble. In him, we will have peace.
We don’t have to wait for heaven to have it. The Prince of Peace offers it to us each and every day.
How do we take hold of it? How do we walk in paths of peace through a world that’s full of war?
That’s the answer, as simple as it sounds.
Isaiah 26:3 says, “You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.”
After my second child was born, I struggled with postpartum depression. It was more terrible than I can tell you. My mind raced with thoughts of condemnation constantly. All I wanted was peace. I wanted to be able to turn my thoughts off and rest, but I couldn’t. Instead, I had to replace all of those lies with truth. Instead of focusing on myself, I had to focus on him.
Whenever I began thinking something negative, I would quite literally stop and erase it from my mind and replace it with truth. I would speak the truth of Christ out loud or rehearse it in my mind over and over again. As my mind began to stay on Christ, my heart began to fill with peace.
I found peace because I wasn’t trusting myself; I was trusting him.
That’s the key to finding peace. When we trust him, he provides peace in three very important ways.
Peace with God
First, he gives us peace with God. Romans 5:10 tells us that “while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son.” Often we hear people talk about how our sin separates us from God, but this verse makes it clear that we aren’t just separated from him in sin. We are at war with him. We are fighting his sovereignty over this world and over our lives, but when we trust in Christ and “have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand.” (Romans 5:1-2)
Peace with Each Other
He also gives us peace with each other. Ephesians 2:15-16 says, “For he himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, by setting aside in his flesh the law with its commands and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new humanity out of the two, thus making peace, and in one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility.”
Paul was talking specifically about the hostility between Jews and Gentiles, but let me tell you: if those two groups could find unity in Christ, there is no excuse for division in our churches today.
Of course, to make peace, Christ had to make a sacrifice, and often, so do we. That’s why Paul urged the believers in Ephesus “to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.” (Ephesians 4:1-3)
He told the Romans, “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” (Romans 12:18)
That isn’t easy to do, but the Holy Spirit enables us to do so because “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” (Galatians 5:22-23)
Peace with Ourselves
Finally, Christ gives us peace with ourselves. Feelings of guilt and condemnation can keep us from growing in Christ, from serving him, and from living the full life he promises. We often live like slaves even though the Prince of Peace has set us free. Hebrews reminds us, however, “The blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkled on those who are ceremonially unclean sanctify them so that they are outwardly clean. How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God?” (Hebrews 9:13-14)
Because of Christ, we are clean. We are forgiven. We can walk with him and serve him in confidence because “Such confidence we have through Christ before God. Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God. He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant – not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.” (2 Corinthians 3:4-6)
How has knowing the Prince of Peace changed your life? In what ways does God give you peace? I’d love to hear from you in the comments!
Also, I’d love it if you’d join us for Encouraging Word Wednesday by adding a link or two below and then visiting one or two others and leaving encouraging comments on their posts!