The Gift of Peace
by Jan Hughes
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Isaiah 9:6, NLT: “For a child is born to us, a son is given to us. And the government will rest on his shoulders. These will be his royal titles: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”
Times are tough. I think most of us are experiencing the strain of the current state of our economy. Financial hardship and other negative situations can interfere, if we let them, with our sense of peace. The path ahead may appear too rough, too steep, and too bewildering to have hope of peace. Circumstances, however, do not have to rob us of a calm trust in Him during life‘s difficulties. Peace may seem to slip away until we remember and apply our instruction book, the Bible, to our situations.
For Christians, peace begins by accepting the gift of having been made right with God through Jesus’ obedience in sacrificing himself for our sins (Romans 5:1). Not only are we assured of eternity with Him, but also we are given the Holy Spirit to teach, guide and comfort us when we accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior. The peace that God gives is not like the peace of the world (John 14:27). Therefore, a sense of peace does not depend on what is happening around us. It is a gift that nothing can remove. His peace is a personal experience between Him and each of us in His Kingdom. It is far greater than the satisfaction we feel as a response to calm relationships and goals that come to fruition. The peace from God is available to us when nothing seems to be going well.
One aspect of a sense of peace lies in our thought life. When our thoughts drift from His truth, peace may seem to elude us. The truth is that it is always available to us, and our grasp of peace is restored as we refocus on Him. God’s word teaches us that we have peace as we believe in Him (Romans 15:13a), trust in Him (Isaiah 26:3) and let the Holy Spirit control our minds (Romans 8:6). We choose what we believe, what we trust, and what we let control our minds. Therefore, peace is available to the extent to which we concentrate on our Lord. When we think more about ourselves or our circumstances than about Him, we become caught up in something other than the peace He provides.
The second aspect of peace involves our emotions. Psalm 119:165 relates peace to those who love God’s law. We must love God, and therefore love what He wants of us, more than we love freedom from trials, comfortable circumstances, or anything else. We must nurture our relationship with Him. He knows that we are weak when we rely on our human strength, and strong as we rely on Him. We need to concentrate on his love, compassion and comfort. To feel peace, we need to focus on how we feel about Him rather than how we feel about difficult situations.
The third aspect of peace is our actions. Philippians 4: 6-7 tells us to pray, ask God for what we need, and thank him for all He has done, and that if we do this, we will experience God’s peace. We act, then we experience His peace. We don’t passively wait for Him to give it to us. We are to pray with the confident expectation that He will answer. We ask Him to supply our needs rather than doubt that He will. We thank Him for everything He has done, what He is doing, even though we cannot see evidence of it, and what He will do in His plan for good for each of us.
It sounds simple because it is. Simple, but not easy. Our relationship with Him takes fixing our minds, hearts, and responses on Him. Peace comes from God as we focus on Him, day to day, and moment to moment.
Isaiah 26:3, NLT: “You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, whose thoughts are fixed on you!”
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