The Peace of God
As people there are many ideas and emotions that we work and fight for our whole lives. Some of these may be happiness. Or love. Or joy. But one thing that everyone wants is peace. And it's because there are many things in our lives that may not give us peace. There may be strife in your marriage. There may be something between you and your children or you and some friends. Or maybe work is really stressful. Or you're not at peace because of your health. Maybe your finances are worrying you. You may feel a little unrest for other reasons. Maybe the last couple years you have not felt at peace.
People want peace in their lives. People will even go to war so that they can have peace. So many people just feel so dragged down with their lives. And most people have no idea how to find peace in their lives.
Understand this: God is the ultimate source of peace. And the Bible has a lot to say about peace. The word “peace” is found hundreds of times in the Bible, and it's mentioned in every New Testament book except for 1 John. Now the Hebrew word that we find in the Old Testament many times for peace is the word “shalom.” And it's a common greeting in Hebrew just like us saying “hello,” but it actually means something a little bit deeper than peace. It carries with it the idea of a completeness or a wholeness. Like everything is together and how it's supposed to be. One good example of this is in Joshua 8.31 when Joshua and the people are about to make a peace offering to the Lord. It says:
as it is written in the Book of the Law of Moses, “an altar of uncut stones, upon which no man has wielded an iron tool.” And they offered on it burnt offerings to the Lord and sacrificed peace offerings.
So, it’s here when they're making their peace offerings. They are making these “shalom” offerings with uncut stones, stones that you would use as you found them, these whole stones. So, a “shalom” offering on “shalom” stones. Now the story of the Bible is about how Jesus would ultimately bring peace and make our relationship with God whole again. Many of us are familiar with Isaiah 9.6 that predicts His birth:
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Many verses in the New Testament talk about Christ fulfilling this, and the Christ bringing this peace to our lives and making us whole.
Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
1 Thessalonians 5.23
And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful.
Maybe your life is a mess, and you are just tired. And you would love to have peace in your lives especially the peace of Christ. So how do we get it this peace of Christ?
That's where Philippians 4 comes in.
Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.
Verse 7 says that the peace of God will guard our hearts and our minds in Christ Jesus. And then verse 9 tells us that not just the peace of God, but the God of peace will be with us.
So how do we obtain this peace?
By meditating and practicing on good, godly things that can only be ultimately done by living for Christ and committing your life to Him. Now it has to be understood that God never promises us physical peace. Physical peace may come, but the peace that He promises is spiritual peace. And that peace comes from knowing that you have a good and holy relationship with God. And as someone who has committed his life to Christ and has first-hand experience, the peace of God, I can tell you, that it is awesome. It truly does “surpass all understanding.” But only those that have had their sins forgiven and have had their sins washed away in baptism can live with the peace of God.
Make your relationship with God whole again. Today. Before it’s everlastingly too late.