Louis Armstrong sings a popular secular holiday song with a peaceful soothing melody and the words “And I say to myself, it’s a wonderful world.” Yet the majority of people on any given day would probably not agree with that wonderful world sentiment. With the current health crisis, political divisiveness, economic unrest and acts of terror nationally and globally, many would say the peaceful world implied in this song is a pipe dream. Yet counselees often come for counseling hoping that someone can help them make this peace filled pipe dream a reality.
When a person comes to me with a desire for peace in life, together, we first have to uncover their peace paradigm. How do they define peace? Unbelievers and believers alike often think of peace as the absence of war. No trouble or conflict. Everybody loves Raymond, right? It’s a peace paradigm based on circumstances, experiences and situations. Yet, if we look at Jesus’ life, the circumstances, experiences and situations that the Prince of Peace found Himself in do not fit the false peace paradigm that is promoted by many today.
Jesus himself said, “Do not think I came to bring peace on the earth; I did not come to bring peace but a sword. For I came to set a man against his father… and a man’s enemies will be members of his household” (Matt 10:34-36). Jesus came to save man from the penalty of sin, not circumstances. The unsaved around us are His enemies and thus ours; even in our own households. Thus, in this world of sin, there will be no lasting earthly peace. He told the disciples before His crucifixion, “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” Jesus is saying earthly peace with man and the eternal peace of God are two different concepts, and He wants to gift us with the latter. Earthly peace is transient, here today, gone tomorrow. Eternal peace, God’s gift to us, is an everlasting part of our new spiritual DNA.
Jesus’ peace requires a paradigm shift. He did not come to merely alleviate our circumstances resulting from sin, or to end all wars, global or familial; though he can certainly do these things. He came to save our sinful souls. It is in the saving of our souls that we find eternal peace so that our hearts are not troubled or afraid in any earthly environment or predicament because we trust the one who holds our future in His hands. We know that upon salvation we receive the Holy Spirit and peace is an integral part of the fruit of the Spirit. This fruit is within every believer, and matures within each one of us as we are progressively conformed to the image of Christ through consistent prayer, study, and application of God’s Word.
Scripture does tell us in Romans 12:18 we are to live peaceably with all men as much as possible so that we can point them to the source of true peace. So men, if in your quest for peace you bought her that 24 carat round brilliant cut diamond ring, don’t take it back! But the next time you forget a birthday, or your anniversary or the eggs on your quarantine grocery store list…don’t be surprised if you’re back on the couch. Ladies, if he bought that Yamaha motorcycle instead of a family vacation, it is okay; let it goooo♫. He’ll figure it out. Statistics don’t lie. EBAY awaits. And girlfriend, if you are at war with yourself over that triple layer slice of double chocolate cake you just peacefully ate, then, you definitely know how fleeting earthly peace can be.
So are you looking for temporary earthly peace or eternal perfect peace? Will you trust God and ask him to mature eternal peace in your life regardless of your circumstances? The true peace paradigm for believers is not based on feelings; it is based on the presence of the Holy Spirit and His peace. So get busy, and in everything through prayer and supplication with thanksgiving make this request for peace known to God and the peace of God which surpasses all understanding will guard your heart and your mind in Christ Jesus (from Phil 4:6,7).
You will keep him in perfect peace, Whose mind is stayed on You, Because he trusts in You. Isa 26:3
Terri Cage (4.27.20)