Listen: Chris Witts presents Morning Devotions.
Professor Charles Birch, who died in 2009, was Challis Professor of biological sciences at Sydney University. He was one of the world’s leading environmentalists. Listen to what he wrote: “There is chaos on several levels today. Inner chaos revealed by people’s inability to live with themselves; social chaos where man can’t live with his neighbour; he feels he has no relationship with the universe about him or God in charge of the universe. Man is alienated, estranged, disintegrated and diseased”. A true statement indeed.
- Read also Peace In Our Time – Part 1
I once saw a sign that said, Be at peace. God is in charge. What is peace? An overall sense of wellbeing. Isaiah 26:3 says: “The Lord gives perfect peace to those whose faith is firm.”
Peace—an inner sense of undisturbed contentment—may be as elusive as any single thing. If you don’t have peace, whatever else you have won’t be enough. Whether circumstances are reassuring or distressing presently, what the Bible calls ‘perfect peace’, comes from within and not from without. I find it interesting that the Bible connects a person’s potential for real peace with that person’s firm purpose.
It is when we take our eyes off God that we don’t have peace. We look at all the things going on in the world and everything seems to be falling apart, which it is. But if we are Christians then the source of our peace is not here. It is inside of us in the person of the Holy Spirit—the third part of the Trinity—who guides and comforts us. This is difficult for non-Christians to understand and only begins to make sense after accepting Jesus as Saviour. Nothing fits the void in your life until God is there by your choice. It is the same with peace—when people don’t want what God has for them, then they look elsewhere.
[Jesus said] “I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.” (John 14:27 – NLT)
The New Testament mentions peace over 90 times. And Jesus promised peace to his followers, as we read in John 14:27: “I give you peace, the kind of peace that only I can give. It isn’t like the peace that this world can give. So don’t be worried or afraid.” Philippians 4:7 says, “Because you belong to Christ Jesus, God will bless you with peace that no-one can completely understand. And this peace will control the way you think and feel.” Once we are at peace with God, the Prince of Peace, Jesus Christ, reigns in our hearts. That’s why when Jesus was born the angels sang, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom His favour rests” (Luke 2:14).
Christians are expected to live in peace with others: “Do your best to live at peace with everyone” (Romans 12:18). It feels so right to be angry when someone wrongs us. The choice is obvious: Grit your teeth and live in bitterness, or forgive as Jesus Christ has forgiven. Jesus was a strong advocate of peace. He never approved of violence.
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Christians can expect to find inner peace in and through living out their vocation as disciples of Jesus Christ and directing their lives towards the following of his teaching. Jesus is regarded as the bringer of peace—to live in close relationship to him and his teaching will allow the follower to experience this peace.
I believe God wants us to find peace and will show us the way, if we are willing to accept it. But for many, the peace of God is elusive. They are not sure how to accept it or where to begin in their pursuit of it.. There are many difficulties, distractions, and hardships that stand in the way of our inner peace. Sometimes these are due to our circumstances. Other times it is our sin or the attitudes of our hearts that stand between us and the inner peace we crave. Through prayer and meditation we can transcend all the distractions and difficulties of our days if we live by the Spirit and put God’s love and presence first. The Bible says we must be still, and then we have a better chance of knowing and hearing God (See Psalm 46:10).
Achieving God’s Peace
How do we experience God’s peace? It all begins when we enter into relationship with God through Jesus Christ. As we put our trust in him, Jesus not only promises us eternal life in the future, but also he invites us to begin to experience that life right now, however incompletely. When we receive the benefits of Christ’s sacrifice through faith, we can have peace with God: “Therefore, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us” (Romans 5:1). Where once we were God’s enemies because of sin, now because of Christ we have been reconciled to God (Romans 5:10-11). The strife between us and the Lord has been overcome by his grace.
How is inner peace achieved? Many Christians achieve this peace through prayer and meditation and have learned the most effective ways to quiet their minds, unwind, and relax. They have done this by taking the problems of the day and letting them go for the higher power to handle. This allows the individual to be free of worries and stress. Another way is to do things that make them happy and find what satisfies their desires. The law of attraction states that positive attracts positive. This is a high influence because this tends to attract people who have the same values and ideas which provide more positive friendships and relationships.
Most Christians who have inner peace also know not to do everything at once and they live in the moment. This means they don’t fret over the past because it’s behind them and there is nothing they can do to change the past, and they don’t worry about the future because it will be what it will be. They are open to new experiences and understand there is an opportunity to learn from the experiences and make the best of all possible outcomes. When they make an error, they learn from it and make sure they don’t make the same one again; this is a relief to the mind that they don’t have to relive that error again.
When the Christian has achieved inner peace they take time to enjoy the journey of life with the knowledge that God is looking out for them. Until we have found the Prince of Peace we will never truly have peace inside. When you are at peace with God then you will be a peace with yourself and others.