When you hear the word peace, what comes to mind? Doves? The peace symbol? Someone doing the peace sign with their hand? Or does your mind go to the absence of peace and instead conjure up pictures of war, unrest, and violence?
The dictionary tells us peace is; a state or period in which there is no war, or a war has ended. Or freedom from disturbance; tranquillity.
Sadly, we seem to live in a world that is devoid of peace. We listen to the news, read the paper, scroll through social media, and all we hear is doom and gloom, murder, war, and youth violence. Especially if, like me, you live in South London.
How can we avoid getting overwhelmed and weary by it all, when we feel like we can’t make a difference?
Thankfully as Christians we have the power and attributes of the Holy Spirit dwelling inside us, and one of the fruits of the spirit, is peace;
Gal 5:22-23 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.
Jesus was the ultimate peacemaker, and just like Him we are called to be peacemakers too. In fact, one of His names is The Prince of Peace, and we are created in His image, so it means we too are a people of peace.
In 1 Peter 5:7 we are told “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” We were never supposed to live a life riddled with anxiety and worry because we should bring all our stuff to God and lay it at His feet. When we pray we tell God everything that is causing us to feel unrest in our souls and He will soothe us and bear the load, if we let Him.
Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the centre of your life. – Philippians 6:7
I love the message version of this scripture, and the thought of God displacing worry in our lives, because if we are full of Him there can be no room for anything else. Living a life in harmony with Him can combat any unrest or stress we may feel.
The meaning of peace in the bible doesn’t really mean an end to war and troubles, in fact, it says we are to expect troubles in this life.
“I have told 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
So, again God is trying to make it clear to us that all we need to do is come to Him and we will find peace for our souls. Peace also looks like harmony amongst brothers and sisters of the faith and wherever God plants you, in your family, workplace, college, school etc.
I know this to be true as I have just come out of the most stressful, worrying season of my life to date. As I have supported my husband and family whilst my husband has battled with cancer, there have been times when I have felt overwhelmed and unable to manage the load, and it’s been in those times that I have been crying out to God like no other.
He has come through for me time after time, to bring comfort and peace that I could then give away to my husband and family. He has revealed Himself so many times in amazing ways, through messages, flowers, gifts, prayers, constantly reminding me that I didn’t need to worry. All I had to do was lean into Him and trust Him at His word, which is what I chose to do.
During moments when we were at doctors’ appointments, battling infections and much more, we felt a tangible sense of God’s peace over us, and it really does pass ALL human understanding. It’s a supernatural peace that you just know isn’t your own, because who in their right mind feels peaceful collecting results about the effectiveness of cancer treatment?! But, in fact we had so much peace over those results we actually experienced joy on the day, before we had even received them.
“And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 4:7
If like me, you are someone who hates conflict or confrontation it may be time to think about this question…
Is avoiding conflict bringing me any peace?
This is something I have been thinking about and when I am trying to avoid a confrontation I know that I start to get churned up inside can’t settle. Avoiding the person can be done, but is often difficult to manage and not helpful in the end.
I am going to start to make a conscious effort to not be someone who avoids confrontation but instead, to actively seek opportunities to bring some peace and resolution into situations, and be the peacemaker. This doesn’t mean backing down on stuff that I hold strong views on or compromising who I am, but it does mean listening well to the other person and committing to staying in a conversation until common ground can be found.
It also means believing that God can bring peace into even the most difficult of relationships or situations even when it seems impossible to human thinking.
In an often-troubled world remember this, we are not responsible for the whole of humanity and bringing world peace, but we do have our part to play, and that looks like bringing peace into your sphere of influence, just like Jesus. Imagine a world where everybody did that!