If there’s one thing of an internal nature that is to characterize our lives it is the presence of … peace.
Interestingly, most of us are inclined to define peace in terms of the absence of something else. Peace is the absence of war, the absence of conflict, the absence of arguments, even the absence of distractions.
In our walk with God, we’d do very well to recognize that fundamentally peace is not the absence of something, but the presence of Someone. It is not accidental or insignificant that one of the prophetic names given to the coming Messiah by Isaiah the prophet is exactly that: “the Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6b). Peace is actually found in a person. His name is Jesus… the Prince of Peace.
One of the primary reasons we are looking at this incredibly significant, but often undervalued quality, is that it is not found in the lives of most believers, let alone those who really have no relationship with God.
For many, the idea of peace is “getting away from whatever it is you’re doing and finding a beach someplace where no one else can find you. ” While I am in no way diminishing the need for such moments that time on a secluded beach may offer, it is meant to be vastly more accessible every day of our lives!
In fact, peace should be the home page of our every day, every circumstance, every relational moment that we have.
The presence of peace was why Jesus was able to sleep soundly in the back of a small boat while his disciples were fighting against a raging storm. So vastly powerful is His supernatural peace that when the disciples awakened Jesus, that Jesus commanded the storm to end by declaring “peace, be still!” (Mark 4:39). This expression was so extraordinary that the disciples “were terrified and asked each other, ‘who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him?’”
Perhaps the first thing we need to acknowledge is that the loss of peace begins by believing our fears, inadequacies, and uncertainties more than the clear and unconditional promise of God “Thou will keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed (focused) on him.” (Isaiah 26:3)
What I am discovering is that I have surrendered my peace much too easily in every waking moment. Instead of seeing peace as something that is mine to enjoy when circumstances allow it or nothing else is going on, I need to see peace as the “default position” of my consciousness. In other words, I want to be able to walk through my day moment by moment, exchange after exchange, input after input, and know that I’m moving with the presence of peace. Jesus indicates that it was the disciples (perhaps unknowingly) succumbing to fear of the power of the storm that broke their awareness of the presence of peace that was right there in the boat with them.
The more I’ve come to think about this in recent times, the more I recognize that all of my interactions are driven by faith or fear. If they’re driven by faith and the promise of God, I won’t believe the lie that fear wants to impose upon me and therefore my peace will not be broken.
This indeed affects every area of our lives. It’s an intensely practical truth when you get down to examining your day-to-day experiences. Whenever a circumstance, decision or even a person causes me to react out of fear then I know right away that I need to step back, re-establish my focus on the presence of God (through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit) and get back to that incredible place of peace in my innermost being. It’s not unreasonable to say that the length of time from when I react, thereby losing my peace, to when I repent and thereby re-establish my awareness of His presence, is a very measurable parameter of my maturity in the Lord. The shorter that gap, the closer I am to living the way that reflects the presence of Jesus in my life. The longer the gap, the more likely I am to lose the sense of His presence and blessing.
Perhaps the best way to establish every day in the fullness of God’s peace is to include in your prayer time the words of Philippians 4:4-7:
Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. 5 Let your reasonableness[a] be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; 6 do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
I know that in this short amount of time I may be raising more questions than I’m answering. I’d like to follow this up with at least one more post on this site about the simplicity and significance of this amazing presence called God’s peace. This would do so much to bring order, blessing and joy not just in our lives, but through our lives to everyone that we encounter. That’s peace that endures.