Sometimes I think Christians confuse “peace” with “do nothingness”.
It isn’t the same.
1. Peace isn’t a feeling. Peace is a state of being.
Peace means we are content with whatever comes our way. The book of Philippians in the Bible is probably the most quoted book in scripture on the subject of peace. But I find it interesting that most people quote Philippians, chapter four, verses four-eight. But verse nine is really the most important verse in that section.
Here are verses four through eight.
4 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5 Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.
A beautiful portion of Scripture and one of my very favorite passages in the Bible. But it doesn’t end there. In fact, in my humble opinion, verse nine should actually come before these verses. Here’s verse nine:
9 Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.
2. Peace means practicing what we know to be true.
Did you see those words I put in bold in verse nine?
That’s the key to peace. It’s a state of being we practice.
We don’t just conjure up peace because we simply want it. In each of these verses, for every outcome desired, there is an action first.
- You want joy?
Rejoice. (a deliberate action.)
- You want to be anxiety free?
Talk to God about it. (a deliberate action.)
- You want peace?
Dwell (think about) peaceful things. (a deliberate action.)
Verse nine paraphrased:
We are to practice all the things we have learned, received, heard, and seen from our relationship with God. THEN, we experience the peace that passes all understanding.
3. If we want the blessings, we have to do the work.
Now for those of you who say, “Rebecca, what about forgiveness? There’s nothing we have to do for forgiveness, is there?”
Well, of course, there is.
We have to ask. (a deliberate action)
Our faith is never meant to be static. The more peace we feel, the more empowered we should be to actively live out our faith in some way.
It occurred to me when I was writing this, that some of my readers suffer from anxiety, certainly not “peaceful”. But remember, peace is a state of being, not a state of feeling. We can be right with God, we can have a “state of being” that is exactly what it should be and still suffer anxiety. I know, that sounds crazy.
We are total human beings as I wrote yesterday. We are subject to a host of physical and mental onslaughts that convince us we are not experiencing the peace and joy God promises. Some of the greatest Christians leaders, authors, and pastors have dealt with these “attacks” and I’m sure they have not felt what we could call peace if we so narrowly define it.
But if our souls are at peace with God, the rest of this is an illness like any other. It doesn’t mean we have to question our standing before God.
God bless and have a good day.