What does it mean to have peace?
I was talking with a friend this week about what it means to have peace in your life and it got me thinking — what does it mean? How do we define peace? Is it taking a spa day? Having a stay-cation? Relaxing to some smooth jazz with your eyes closed when you have all of your to-do list finished? (ok maybe that’s what I like to do to relax LOL).
But I’m not talking about relaxation. I’m talking about peace. Peace is not the same thing as relaxing. Relaxing is great and we do need some down time (especially these days it seems like all we do is go go go and then go some more!) So yes, down time is needed – but that’s another story for another day).
This friend was concerned about all the things that were going on in the world and it really struck me that we need to understand true peace, now more than ever.
As I’ve noted in many previous posts, the world is not going to get any better. We are in a closed system that tends toward entropy (thanks laws of thermodynamics!) — basically, things will always get worse. Fruit, if left on a counter, will decay. The oceans are not suddenly going to clean themselves up. Entropy. And not to turn this into a major downer, but this is the world we live in. No denying it’s broken. Add to the mix stress about your job, your loved one who is struggling, sickness that seems to be looming, wondering if we can ever find “normal” again. These thoughts weigh on us whether we realize it or not.
And sometimes whether we even worry about these things or not, having the thoughts, or hearing the worrisome ideas on the news and accepting them as our own adds to the load in our minds and on our bodies. Did you know that? Negative thoughts in our mind actually cause negative physical symptoms in our bodies. Hearing something on the news and then taking that burden on ourselves can have real consequences. Science is only now beginning to tell us about the effects of stress on our bodies and our daily lives.
So what are we to do? With all this worry swirling around in our minds, how do we find peace?
First, I’d like to offer my definition of true peace: Having confidence in God that He will take care of everything, trusting in Him and resting assured that He is in control, despite the circumstances that are going on around you. It may be total chaos around you, but you are calm. You know God is handling it and you choose not to worry about it.
How do we get there? I turned to the Bible to see what God’s Word has to say about it.
Philippians 4 is a great chapter. We all know the verse about the peace that surpasses all understanding, right? (Philippians 4:7) but did you notice that it’s a promise? Let’s look at Philippians 4:6-7 below.
6 Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. 7 Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.
See that? verses 6 and 7 are an if-then statement! IF you (instead of worrying) will pray about it. Pray about anything and everything that crosses your mind, and thank God, THEN (v.7) the promise is that God’s peace, beyond your comprehension, will guard your heart and mind as you continue in Jesus.
How would you like God’s peace to guard your heart and mind?! That’s powerful! I imagine like an angel standing sentry at my heart and not letting any worry doubt or fear in. He’s guarding my heart and keeping the peace in there and the worry out!
Then in verse 13, because we’ve given everything to God and His peace is keeping us, we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us! I encourage you to read the verses in between 7-13 also because it’s great stuff. All of that is important leading up to 13.
Here are some more verses I’d like to share with you today.
- Psalms 46:10a
- Colossians 3:15
- Isaiah 26:3
- Isaiah 46:4
Lastly, the peace God gives us cannot even compare to what the world has to offer. In John 14:27 Jesus says,
“I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.“
The peace of God is so much more beyond anything we can even understand — even with the amazing brains God gave us we can’t fathom His peace. We just have to trust. Trust God to take care of it and not take it on yourself to figure it out.
Take some time to read the above scriptures and journal through this.
- How is God speaking to you through His word about peace?
- How do you define having peace in your life? What does it mean to you to have peace?
- What can you do right now, this moment, to apply this and move toward more peace in your life?
- Are there areas of your life or your thoughts that you need to surrender to God? Take a few minutes right now to pray about that and start surrendering them over to God. Like we learned in Philippians 4:6-7, pray about them, thank God for taking care of it, and rest in His peace. Trust He is doing what He says and He will take care of it. Then choose not to worry! When worry comes back, say “No! I’m trusting God! I’m not going to worry about that!”