The Real, Radical Road to Peace
This week, we wrap up our 'Real Radical' series by looking at the Bible's approach to achieving peace.
Everyone wants peace. Whether you're a national leader sitting across a table from other world leaders, a businessman facing office pressures and deadlines, a homemaker trying to keep track of the kids, or a student just trying to make it through final exams - everyone wants peace.
Yet, there is nothing that people talk more about and experience less than peace. We live in comfortable homes, but domestic violence is a secret menace inside too many of those homes. Our cities have the most modern infrastructure in the world, yet our streets are unsafe. Our communication technology is expansive, but there has never been more misunderstanding among people.
So, where can we go for peace? For many, the destination for finding peace may seem like a radical idea because the place of peace is actually the person of peace - God himself. The Bible talks about two kinds of peace related to God.
This is peace with God. "Therefore, since we have been declared righteous by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ." Romans 5:1 NET.
That's the bottom line. We have to have peace with God before we can experience any other kind of peace. But how can we do this? Simple! Admit to God that you are a sinner and your sins separate you from Him. Believe that Jesus Christ is God's Son and accept God's gift of forgiveness from sin. Then, confess your faith in Jesus Christ as Saviour and Lord.
This is the peace of God: "... since God is not a God of disorder but of peace." 1 Corinthians 14:33 HCSB
He offers that internal sense of well-being and order that most people think of when we consider the word 'peace'.
Anyone who knows the Lord Jesus Christ can go through problems and still have the peace of God in his heart. When a spouse dies, our children get sick, or we lose our jobs, we can have a peace that we don't understand. This peace is not the absence of conflict, but an ability to cope with the conflicts and frustrations of life.
If we truly want to live lives of peace and experience the peace of God continually, we must get real radical and allow Christ to rule and control our lives. "So then, we must pursue what promotes peace and what builds up one another." Romans 14:19 HCSB.
To pursue and maintain peace, we must:
OBEY GOD'S WORD
As simple as it may sound, we need to just do what the Bible says. "Abundant peace belongs to those who love Your instruction; nothing makes them stumble." Psalm 119:165 HCSB.
Every car comes with an owner's manual. The owner's manual tells us that if we do certain things at certain times, we'll get optimal performance out of the car. The Bible is our life's manual. It contains principles for health, finance, marriage, relationships, business, and much more. If we don't obey the principles as they relate to the various areas of our lives, we won't experience peace. Just as a car runs more smoothly when operated according to its design, our lives will run more smoothly if we live according to God's design as presented in His Word.
FOCUS ON GOD'S PRESENCE
We must realise that God is always with us. "You will keep the mind [that is] dependent [on You] in perfect peace, for it is trusting in You." Isaiah 26:3 HCSB.
We have a choice of either focusing on our problems or focusing on God who holds the solution. If we look at the world, we'll be distressed; if we look within, we'll be depressed, but if we look at Christ, we'll be at rest.
TRUST GOD'S PURPOSE
Have you noticed that many things in life don't make sense? What do we do in such situations? "Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not rely on your own understanding; think about Him in all your ways, and He will guide you on the right paths." Proverbs 3:5-5 HCSB.
We waste a lot of time and energy trying to figure things out, but God urges us to just trust Him.
ASK FOR PEACE
Paul tells us: "Don't worry about anything, but in everything, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses every thought, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:6-7 HCSB.
Notice the order - first prayer and then peace. There's a cause-and-effect relationship here. Prayer is the cause, peace is the effect.
What is robbing you of peace today? Is it guilt? Turn to God for forgiveness. Is it worry? A job change? Finances? Major surgery? A difficult person? You can talk to Christ about all of these things and anything else that is bothering you.
Peace is not a trouble-free life; it's a sense of calm in the midst of life's storms. You will not experience true or lasting peace until Jesus Christ is in charge of your life. The God of all peace wants to give you the gift of peace. Will you make the real radical decision to accept it?