God has a lot of things to say about peace:
“Let him turn away from evil and do good; let him seek peace and pursue it.” 1 Peter 3:11
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.” Matthew 5:9
“A harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.” James 3:18
“When a man’s ways please the Lord, he makes even his enemies to be at peace with him.” Proverbs 16:7
Our peace comes from God:
“Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times in every way. The Lord be with you all.” 2 Thessalonians 3:16
“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
“You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.” Isaiah 26:3
“In peace I will both lie down and sleep; for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.” Psalm 4:8
And He commands us to walk in HIs peace:
“Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing. For “Whoever desires to love life and see good days, let him keep his tongue from evil and his lips from speaking deceit; let him turn away from evil and do good; let him seek peace and pursue it.” 1 Peter 3:9-11
“And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful.” Colossians 3:15
“So then let us pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding.” Romans 14:19
Peace is a gauge by which we assess our hearts before and within the Lord. Peace is not something that we impose on others from without, rather, peace is something that flows from the heart of God, through our hearts as we are surrendered to Him, and then out to others.
Yet the peace of the God pouring through our lives is not something that happens automatically. In our flesh-selves we find ourselves striving with each other, demanding of each other, condemning each other. Chaos and strife are our natural bent.
“A dishonest man spreads strife, and a whisperer separates close friends.” Proverbs 16:28
“But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast and be false to the truth. This is not the wisdom that comes down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice.” James 3:14-16
“For you are still of the flesh. For while there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not of the flesh and behaving only in a human way?” 1 Corinthians 3:3
As in all things there is a process in becoming men and women of peace. To be conduits of peace there are a few things that must be accomplished in our own hearts and minds.
1. First, we come to understand that we do not really know His peace. We recognize that there is much to learn about the peace of God and we admit our need and confess the lack of peace in our own hearts and minds. We allow the revelation of the Lord to show us our jealousies and to highlight our contentions and then we confess these things to God. Bringing our lack of peace out into the light makes a space by which God’s peace can begin to change and inhabit our lives.
“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9
2. Second, we must bring our ego needs to the Lord. Where we are insecure we must rest in God and what He declares about us. We do not take our sense of self from our outward lives, but rather we settle into self that is settled in the Lord. We come to Him and He wraps us in His peace.
“Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand” Isaiah 41:10
In this, we loose off our demanding of others. The way of peace is the way of walking in forgiveness and understanding.
- Are we contentious in our spirits? We need the peace of the Lord.
- Are we unsettled in joy and faith? We need the peace of the Lord.
- Are we unwilling to set things right with others? We need the peace of the Lord.
“For the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.” James 1:20
Peace is powerful and active. Sometimes we believe peace is passive and lays down at the first hint of trouble. But peace is far more than just refusing to engage chaos or give voice to dissension, peace is the heart of our Father God and when our hearts are transformed by his peace, our hearts become a conduit of His peace.
Out of this work of the Lord in our own lives, peace flows out of our person to others around us. And when we walk in the peace of the Lord the darkness around us must submit to this spirit of peace carried in the love of the Lord. Peace enters in the kingdom of God just as light illuminates a dark room
Where there are spirits of chaos and destruction, we ignore the spirits of the enemy and instead we pray peace, “God we declare your peace in this place.” Rather than focussing on evil, we focus on God. Instead of going after the enemy, we bring God himself. In this way God’s ways take preeminence – peace does this.
“God, we say yes and amen to your peace over this community.”
“Jesus, we agree with your peace this day over this home.”
“Holy Spirit, bring your peace to our hearts and minds.”
“God, we enter into your peace.”
The enemy cannot stand against peace, for peace is the exact opposite of the nature of the enemy, peace is wholly the nature of God. Most particularly, our own sin nature loses it’s power when brought into the peace of God.
“He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed.” 1 Peter 2:24
“Heal me, O Lord, and I shall be healed; save me, and I shall be saved, for you are my praise.” Jeremiah 17:14
“Creating the fruit of the lips. Peace, peace, to the far and to the near,” says the Lord, “and I will heal him.” Isaiah 57:19
Where the enemy seeks to destroy, peace seeks to heal. Where our hearts wish to condemn, peace forgives. Where communities are embroiled in dissension, peace brings a balm of the Lord and tensions ease and life increases.
The peace of God changes our lives, transforming our communities. The peace of the Lord begins in our own hearts and spreads from there. May we become people of peace. And as we do this may we enter in the Kingdom of God oearth.
“Praise the Lord! For it is good to sing praises to our God; for it is pleasant, and a song of praise is fitting. The Lord builds up Jerusalem; he gathers the outcasts of Israel. He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. He determines the number of the stars; he gives to all of them their names. Great is our Lord, and abundant in power; his understanding is beyond measure.” Psalm 147:1-5 (read all of Psalm 147:1-20)
“Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits, who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy,” Psalm 103:2-4