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Topic: Peace (03/15/04)
TITLE: Peace: Fact or Fiction
By Naomi Deutekom
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Peace: The absence of strife, the freedom from conflict, the cessation of turmoil, the existence of calm, quiet or rest? Is peace internal or external? How do we get it and how do we keep it.
Achieving peace in our busy lives is a driving force in our society. There is something missing and we know it. Advertising companies capitalize on it, offering tranquil moments if we drink their coffee, eat their candy or driver their cars. Exercise gurus offer peace through their programs. Diet promoters offer it through their regimes. Self-help writers offer suggestions through their books. Some of these may be helpful in allowing us to reduce stress and live healthier life styles, but do they actually give us peace?
Jesus said, “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you: not as the world gives do I give to you.” (John 14: 27a). The world goes around and around trying to find a cure for its own ailments, but the answer is not in the world. Real peace is grounded and anchored in Jesus Christ. For God’s children, peace is available and present at all times.
“So, Why don’t I have it,” you ask?
If we skip over to John 16: 33, we find Jesus saying, “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation: but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” My first question is, “What are ‘These things’ that He has spoken?” Looking back in John chapter 15 we find one of the key elements of peace –“Abide in Me and I in you.” We need to know God and to abide in Him. As Jesus becomes the focus of our lives, we will know Him and trust Him more. That leads to peace.
When anxiety comes into our lives, and it will come, we have a knowledge of God and a relationship with Him that will carry us through. “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 understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” (Phil. 4:6) He will give us peace as we trust in Him.
Peace is also a fruit of the Spirit. God’s Spirit dwells within us. As we grow in our relationship with Him, He produces peace in our lives. This peace is a visible and tangible testimony of God’s presence in our lives. A couple of years ago I suffered a reaction to some medication, producing severe anxiety attacks. I spent six weeks in the hospital. It was a difficult time, yet God’s peace and love held me together from the inside out. My body betrayed me, but my God did not. To my amazement my fellow patients could see this. One young patient told me that he was confident of my recovery because I exuded strength. It surprised me because strength was not something I felt at that point. It was God’s peace that created that strength. God’s strength goes beyond ours and His peace is real to those around us, even if we can’t see it.
The world cannot give us God’s peace, only God can. His peace far exceeds the peace the world is trying to find. The peace it offers is really only a struggle for answers. We have the answers. Know God. Love God. Trust God. He gives us peace. He is Peace.