Duane Vander Klok
We live in a stress-filled world where everyone experiences turbulence from time to time. Thankfully, one of God’s promises is that He will provide us with His peace in the midst of trouble. Jesus said, “Peace I leave with you; My peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid” (John 14:27).
With a great promise like that, Christians should be the happiest and most secure people in the world. While we face the same kinds of problems everyone else does, the peace that God gives enables us to cope and rise above them. Through faith, we are able to overcome hardships and rejoice – even in the midst of adversity.
What is Peace?
Most people think of peace as the absence of conflict or strife, but God’s concept of peace is much more than that. The Old Testament word for peace, “shalom,” means “wholeness, completeness, welfare, tranquility, health, harmony of life” and conveys the sense of nothing missing and nothing broken.
In the New Testament, “eirene,” the Greek word for peace, means “quietness, at rest” and implies an inner prosperity or wellbeing. It is an inner calm that exists even in the midst of outer turmoil or calamity.
Is it really possible to have this kind of peace during turbulent times? Absolutely!
But many miss out on it because they are looking for peace in all the wrong places.
Source of Peace
Real, lasting peace comes only from Jesus. It cannot be obtained through following the advice of self-help books, by adopting a positive mental attitude or by self-medicating with alcohol or drugs.
Jesus said, “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” (John 16:33, NKJV). His victory over death, sin and the devil made the way for us to have peace with God, peace with ourselves and peace with others. That kind of peace does not rest in the things of this world; it rests only in Him.
Scripture tells us that Jesus is not merely the giver of peace; He is the God of Peace (Romans 16:20, Hebrews 13:20). He is calling to us today, saying, “Come to Me, all who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light” (Matthew 11:28-30).
Storm Calming Peace
In Mark 4:35-40, you can read the account of how Jesus calmed a storm so intense that it threatened to capsize His disciples’ boat. These seasoned fishermen had weathered countless storms, yet this one was so intense that they were terrified by the wind and waves. Meanwhile, Jesus was in the bottom of the boat sleeping through it all! When they woke Him up, He simply spoke to the wind and waves, saying, “Peace, be still,” and the sea immediately calmed down. Then He asked the disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?” (Mark 4:40).
You see, faith in God links us with His peace. The Amplified version of Ephesians 3:20 tells us that God is able to “do superabundantly, far over and above all that we [dare] ask or think [infinitely beyond our highest prayers, desires, thoughts, hopes, or dreams].” Peace and security come when you know and trust that God will provide.
Every time you face a challenging circumstance, you have a choice to make: will you look at the situation and worry, or will you trust that God is going to take care of you?
When something looks impossible, will you focus on your inability or will you depend on God’s ability?
Isaiah 26:3 promises “perfect peace” (an inner tranquility) to those who trust in and lean upon the Lord. It says, “He will keep in perfect peace all those who trust in Him, whose thoughts turn often to the Lord” (TLB). Just as Jesus calmed the wind and the waves, you can trust Him to keep you safe through every storm you face.
As one of the fruits of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22), you can expect peace to grow in your life, and there are some things you can do to help cultivate its growth. Paul writes: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers, 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. 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” (Philippians 4:6-9). That’s a promise!
Here are four keys that will help you cultivate God’s peace in your life:
Paul, in verse 6, said, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition…” This means that whatever situation you are facing, you can take it to the Lord in prayer. When you pray about everything, you don’t have to be anxious about anything!
1 Peter 5:7 tells us, “Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you.” To “cast your anxiety” is to “hurl or forcefully throw” your worries and concerns much like you would throw a baseball to someone. As you pray, you are placing your situation – and your anxieties – in God’s capable hands.
If you want to experience greater peace, pray more!
Also in verse 6, Paul wrote, “…in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” He said that we are to submit our requests with “thanksgiving.” It is not always easy to remember our blessings when we are in the midst of a stressful situation, but it is always good for us to do so!
As you are praying, take time to thank the Lord for past blessings and deliverance. The psalmist patterned this for us in Psalm 118:21 when he wrote, “I will give You thanks, for You answered me; You have become my salvation.” By being thankful, you are acknowledging how good God has already been to you.
Thank God for present blessings…and thank Him for what He is doing and will do in your situation. Make Psalm 28:7 your confession: “The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in Him, and I am helped. My heart leaps for joy and I will give thanks to Him…”
Think on These Things
Verse 8 gives us another valuable key. It says, “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.” One version says to “let your mind dwell on these things.”
It is far too easy to dwell on the negatives. We need to focus on the positives and begin seeing our glass half full instead of half empty. After all, God is for us, and He is a very present help in times of trouble (Romans 8:31, Psalm 46:1).
Practice These Things
Philippians 4:9 reveals a fourth key in the form of a conditional promise. It says: “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.” When we put these principles into practice, the God of peace will be with us. That makes good sense; only those things that we put into practice do us any good.
As we diligently seek to apply the teachings from God’s Word to our lives, we avoid many unnecessary problems and troubles. James 1:25 tells us that, “The man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it — he will be blessed in what he does.”
Paul wrote, “To be spiritually minded is life and peace” (Romans 8:6, NKJV). Our prayer for you is that you will keep your heart and mind set on God and that you will experience a peace and calm so deep that it passes all human understanding.
“Now may the Lord of peace Himself give you peace at all times and in every way. The Lord be with you” (2 Thessalonians 3:16).
(All scriptures are from the New International Version of the Bible unless otherwise stated.)
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