How to Have Lasting Peace
“Be anxious for nothing, 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 comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 4:6-7).
Peace is a quality of life so many desire, but so few really find. In the fast-paced lifestyle characteristic of today, we think the lack of peace is something that is more of a modern phenomenon, the struggle of distracted thinking in trying to integrate everything going on in one’s life. Such is not correct. In his day, Jeremiah spoke of the false teachers deceiving people with trivial sayings about peace, when there was no peace (Jer. 6:14). David spoke of those who spoke about peace with their neighbors, but did so falsely, as they harbored evil motives against them (Psa. 38:3). Jeremiah, in the ruins of Jerusalem, would say, “I have been deprived of peace, I have forgotten what happiness is” (Lam. 3:17). People long for peace, but so many come up lacking it.
Why is peace so elusive? Perhaps because sin is so pervasive in people’s lives. Paul reminded the Corinthians, “God is not a of disorder but of peace” (1 Cor. 14:33). Disorder is the opposite of peace. “For where there is envy and selfish ambition, there is disorder and every evil practice” (Jas. 3:16). Since these issues are sin based, we can conclude that sin brings disorder, not peace, in its wake. The word for disorder, or confusion, is the Greek term ἀκαταστασία (akatastasia), which means “to fall apart, hence unstable, personal unrest, chaos.” Real peace, lasting peace, will never be found as long as sin is a dominant influence in one’s life.
To find peace, then, real peace, the ability to have contentment and a sense of calm in life, one must be integrally connected to Christ, who offers forgiveness of sin and a real relationship with God. Jesus' work is characterized by restoring order out of the disorder brought by sin. Jesus is called the prince of peace (Isa. 9:6) and is said to be our peace (Eph. 2:14). Jesus achieved peace for us by condemning sin in His flesh, enabling us to have peace with God (Col. 1:20). Peace, rest, and security is what Jesus offers (John 16:33).
For us to know this as a real experience in life, the peace of Christ should rule (make life's decisions) in our hearts (Col. 3:15). Christians are exhorted to “be at peace with one another” (Mark 9:50), “live in peace” (2 Cor. 13:11), “pursue what makes for peace” (Rom. 14:19), and “strive for peace with everyone” (Heb. 12:14). The term strive, or pursue, means to follow or press hard after, to pursue with earnestness and diligence in order to obtain, to go after with the desire of obtaining. Peace doesn’t come to those who allow sin to reign in one’s life, or half-hearted efforts in Christian living, but those who commit themselves to overcoming sin, who truly live by faith (1 John 5:4). Until one entrusts life to Christ, peace will be voided by disorder.
May we, with Paul, decide that to live is Christ (Phil. 1:21), to allow the spiritual to direct how we approach life, so we have a proper perspective on how to face the trials living in the flesh brings, and how to have confidence in what waits for us in heaven. The world is seeking so many avenues to find peace and contentment, except the right one, for peace only comes from God through Christ. If we pursue peace, it will exceed our expectations, it will guard our hearts and minds, it will keep us spiritually focused, it will help us live for eternity. “The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace” (Rom. 8:6).
“Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice.”