“Seek peace and work to maintain it”
1 Peter 3:11
Peace – even saying the word can evoke a serene emotion. Breathe deep and exhale the word and something about it leaves us feeling lighter. Until recently I had never read this verse imploring us to make peace something that we seek. I mean, I understood we should seek peace with others but how about just peace itself? Perhaps an innate feature of peace is that it does not seem to push its way to the front as a dominant goal of pursuit but nevertheless the bible has much to say about it.
What is peace anyway? We tend to think of peace in the context of activities which evoke a state of rest or the resolution of an argument. Peace, then, becomes relative and subject to what is going on externally around us. For example, as I write this I have the privilege of a cuddle from a very fluffy and friendly cat curled up beside me; I’m tucked inside a sensationally soft throw and steam from my favorite green tea floats subtly upwards in the light of sunrays gently stroking me with warmth. This is certainly a peaceful afternoon doing what I love – writing. But very quickly all this could change with one scare of the cat or a spill of tea. The definition of peace I’ve given you here certainly does not capture the fullness of what the word originally meant in the verse above.
The word translated “peace” comes from the Greek word “eiréné” from a root word which means “to join, tie together into a whole.” The Hebrew word “shalom” used for peace in the bible also evoked this meaning, essentially “wholeness”. God desires more for us than just a moment of serenity, He wants to bring us into complete wholeness.
Peace may feel like a disappearing quality in our increasingly connected and broken world but the God of all peace (Heb.13:20) made His desire to give us His peace known through Jesus. Jesus gave this address to His disciples nearing His death,
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you.” John 14:27
Jesus brought with Him the peace of Heaven and He dispensed it liberally to those who followed Him. Likewise, the Holy Spirit is now the giver of peace to us through salvation (Gal.5:22-23). This is a peace that cannot be shaken.
When peace becomes something we access from within it is no longer subject to what is going on around us. When unsettling emotions and the chaos of the world flood our minds we have a hope inside we can connect to in order to bring quietness to our souls.
| God desires that we have His peace and learn to live in it.
He wants to pour it into us so that it will overflow to quiet the anxiousness in the world around us. As we learn how to receive His peace we become “peace-carriers” to our relationships. Peace is available and steadily accessible when we become firmly rooted in the love of God our Father and bring everything to Him. Prayer is one way to connect with Him and consequently to His peace. One last verse I’ll share with you is an encouragement found in Philippians 4:6,
“Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all He has done. Then, you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.”
I hope you will experience God’s peace right now. Believe in His heart for you.