God has given us some amazing promises. The most amazing of which
is, no doubt, the promise of eternity in heaven because of
forgiveness and redemption (cf. I Peter 1:3-5). What an amazing destiny we have. However, sometimes,
we have so many struggles along the way we lose sight of that
great promise. That is why we need to understand not all of
Godís promises are about eternity. Some are about this life. We
could list a host of them, however, I believe one of, if not, the
greatest is peace.
We live in a world of turmoil. All too often, our own lives
are filled with turmoil. We sometimes have money struggles, health
struggles, family struggles, work struggles. We have fears,
doubts, resentments. We worry about our future, our children, our
parents, our friends, our brethren. We are filled with guilt and
shame from our own sins, shortcomings, failures. Our pride,
obsessions, impatience, procrastination fills us with turmoil. It
doesnít have to be that way. God has promised us something
greater. It is not an overnight promise. It is not something we
ask for today and have in our possession tomorrow. But it is
Godís promise. As we grow in Christ, we will have peace. To stay
on Godís path, we need to see Godís promise. We need to
understand what He is not promising so we wonít chase false
hope. We need to understand what He is promising so we can reach
for it. We need to understand how we can receive the promise. God
has promised us peace, let us take comfort in that.
The promise of peace
In John 14:27,
Jesus promised the apostles peace. Therefore, we can let go of the
troubles in our hearts; we can abandon our fears. Jesus will give
In Philippians 4:5-9,
we see the greatest statement of Godís peace. It is a peace that
surpasses understanding. God says if we cast our worries and
anxieties on Him, His peace will guard our hearts and minds.
Further, if we set our minds on the proper things, then the God of
peace will be with us.
In John 16:33,
Jesus explains that He taught so we could have peace. In the world
is tribulation. If we are in the world and of the world, we will
always have mental, emotional, spiritual turmoil. However, in
Christ, we can receive peace.
We need to recognize Godís promise for us. Right now you
may have all kinds of anguish, turmoil, tribulation, struggle,
anxiety. However, if you leave the world and enter Christ, in time
you will grow in peace. You will have peace. You will have a peace
that the world doesnít know. You will have a peace that even we
do not understand. You will have a peace that will carry you
through whatever Satan and the world throws at you.
What Godís peace is not
Sadly, people often misunderstand peace. They pursue other
things in the name of peace as if it is peace. We need to
understand what God is really promising. To understand that,
letís first clear aside some of the misunderstandings.
is not promising us everything we want.
Some people mistake the concept of getting their heartís desire
with the idea of peace. They think that unless they have
everything they want, they canít have peace, so peace must be
getting it all. That is not what God is promising. Consider
Paulís teaching in Philippians
4:12 right after he wrote about the promise of peace. Paul
says he learned how to suffer want. But the point we need to
notice is that having peace did not mean never having want. In
fact, as Paul described his life in Christ in II
Corinthians 11:27, he explained he often lacked sleep, food,
and drink. He often lacked comfort and protection from the
elements. Yet, he is the one telling us the greatness of Godís
peace. Godís peace is not a promise to have everything.
Certainly, one of Godís promises is to provide the needs of
those who trust Him, as seen in Matthew
6:33. But He hasnít promised us our every want and desire.
No, Godís peace is greater than that.
is not promising weíll get along with everyone.
In Matthew 10:34, Jesus
said He did not come to bring peace to the world, but rather a
sword. As Christians, sometimes even our own family will be
against us. Yes, as much as it depends on us we should live
peaceably with all people (Romans
12:18), yet even that statement demonstrates it doesnít
completely depend on us and even with all the personal peace we
have, others may still not be at peace with us. In Matthew
5:9-10, even the peacemakers were persecuted. Godís peace is
not getting along with everyone or having an enemy free life. No,
Godís peace is greater than that.
is not promising us an easy life.
In Acts 14:22, Paul makes it very clear that the way into the kingdom
is a way of tribulation. As Christians, we will not get what we
want. People may still not like us. Those very people may even
make it hard for us. Aside from that, we are still living in the
world that is tainted by sin. We will suffer just because that is
the nature of life. Christians who have Godís peace, still get
sick, still get laid off, still get betrayed, still get hurt.
Having Godís peace does not mean having an easy life. No,
Godís peace is greater than that.
What Godís peace is
peace is connection.
Romans 8:31-39 demonstrates that all kinds of bad things may happen
to us even though we are Christians. They may, in fact, happen
because we are Christians. But through it all we have a connection
with God. The reason so few people have peace is because they are
looking for the connection that will make them whole. Sadly, they
pursue all kinds of negative things like sexual immorality,
codependent relationships, on again-off again relationships. So
many of our insecurities, obsessions, fears are tied to our need
to be connected. Yet, so often we retreat into isolation. The
peace that God gives is a connection with Him that no matter what
we face, we know we are in His hand. We can take refuge in Him. He
will take care of us when we surrender to Him.
peace is contentment.
Philippians 4:11-13 shows that peace is not getting what we want.
Peace rather is contentment with whatever we have. This peace
overthrows the fear of loss, because we know weíll make it even
if we lose all our stuff. This peace overthrows the frantic and
frenetic life of trying to gain more because we are satisfied with
what God has for us. This peace is contentment with Godís plan
for us and Godís goals for us. We are satisfied to be right
where God has us. This peace gets rid of the warring with others
because we have nothing to prove to them. We are content with our
lot and happy for theirs. It removes the need to impress others
because we are content in our relationship with God, not needing
the approval of others to feel good with ourselves.
peace is conviction.
Romans 8:28 says all things work together for good for those who
love the Lord. Godís peace is the conviction that God can and
will use everything we face to help us in the long run. Godís
peace is not necessarily understanding how God will do that. It is
trusting that God will. It is being at peace because we know God
is in control and we donít have to be. It is recognizing that as
long as we just do what God wants, Heíll take care of the rest. I
Peter 3:14-17 demonstrates that we may face suffering.
However, if we do, we know God will work it out for our blessing,
therefore we need not fear or be troubled in spirit. Godís peace
is knowing that God is in charge no matter what. But not only that
it is knowing that God wins no matter what and being on His side
is where we want to be.
Godís peace is something we are given, not something we
Here is the really tricky part. We all want this peace.
Therefore we strive to pursue it. We think it is something we can
manage if we work hard enough at it. However, if you have spent
any time trying to work at having peace on your own, you know full
well the even greater frustration. Just when you think youíve
got it down, something happens that throws it all out the window.
Peace is not something we work on. Peace is a gift from God when
we surrender to Him.
Consider the very nature of recognizing that peace is a
promise from God. The passages we started with in John
14:27; 16:33; Philippians 4:5-9 demonstrate that this is
something God gives us. It is something He has promised those who
surrender to Him. It is not something we can try to grab for
says peace is a fruit of the Spirit. Regrettably, for a long time,
I misunderstood the fruit of the Spirit. I acted and even taught
that these were characteristics we should work on. But that is not
what Galatians 5:22-23
is saying. It is not saying if we work on these characteristics we
will have the Spirit. It is saying if we sow to the Spirit, this
is the fruit we will bear. We do not work on peace. We work on
submitting to the Spirit and the Spirit bears peace in our lives. Romans
8:6 drives this home, saying, ďFor to set the mind on the
flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and
Notice Paulís prayer in II
Thessalonians 3:16. It is a prayer we should all pray for
others and for ourselves. ďNow may the Lord of peace himself
give you peace at all times in every way. The Lord be with you
all.Ē Peace is something we need to ask God to give us. It is
not something we can accomplish on our own. Perhaps we should
adopt what is often called the Serenity prayer. Serenity is
another word for peace. ďGod, grant me the serenity to accept
the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I
can, and the wisdom to know the difference.Ē Notice in that
prayer, serenity and peace are a gift not something we take for
Iíve often heard people talk about pursuing your career.
They have said if you simply choose your career based on the
pursuit of money, you probably wonít ever have much money. But
if you just pursue what you love and become an expert at that, the
money will come pouring in. Peace is a lot like that. If you are
trying to pursue peace, you wonít get it. It will elude you
constantly. However, if you quit the pursuit of peace and instead
simply pursue the will of the Spirit, He will give you peace.
As I said at the beginning, Godís promise is not an
overnight promise. He is not saying if you get baptized today,
youíll have complete peace tomorrow. As we grow in the Spirit,
weíll increase in the peace God gives us. That promise will
increasingly come true, sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly. But
it will happen. That is the nature of Godís promises. He never
reneges. However, I
want to remind you of John
16:33. There are two options. There is the world and there is
Christ. In the world, there is tribulation. In Christ, there is
peace. Which path are you walking? Are you on your way to peace in
this life and life in the next? If not, why not enter Christ today
and start walking the path to peace and eternal life?
to God in the church by Christ Jesus
Church of Christ