For God is not a God of disorder but of peace.
– 1 Corinthians 14:33
Think back. When was the last time that you went to bed completely at peace? Life is full of problems, and the answers seem to be so scarce. So how is anyone ever able to close their eyes at night with peace in their hearts?
God gives a different kind of peace than the world gives
Just before Jesus was arrested, He said to His disciples:
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives.
– John 14:27
Later, Paul, one of Jesus’ apostles, wrote to a first-century church these words:
And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
– Philippians 4:7
Do you see the pattern here? We (the world) have our idea of what it means to have peace. But God doesn’t give us peace as the world gives peace. He gives a sort of peace that passes all natural, human understanding.
What is peace according to the world?
My favourite online dictionary, Dictionary.com, has seven definitions of “peace”. Here are just three of them:
the normal, nonwarring condition of a nation, group of nations or the world.
a state of mutual harmony between people or groups, especially in personal relations.
freedom of the mind from annoyance, distraction, anxiety, an obsession, etc.; tranquility; serenity.
What do these three definitions have in common? They all define peace as the state of a person or group when under desirable circumstances. If you were to look at the other four definitions of peace by dictionary.com that I haven’t included here, you would find that they also follow this pattern. All is going well, so we are at peace.
There’s a solid link between our idea of peace and our circumstances. No wonder it’s so difficult to lie down at night in peace; we are constantly surrounded by troubled circumstances.
But remember, this isn’t the type of peace that Jesus and Paul talked about.
What is peace according to God?
We’ll pick up from here next week, and talk about God’s type of peace. But until then, I want you to start thinking about it yourself. Here’s a final verse to get you started:
Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ
– Romans 5:1
Based on this verse, how do you think God would define “peace”?