Listen: Chris Witts presents Morning Devotions.
In Part 1, I was talking about a peace that doesn’t disappear—the peace of God which passes all understanding. So, my question now is, Why must God be central to our lives?
And my answer is, because there is no real peace or hope apart from knowing him. He is God and we are not. He does not depend on us, but we must depend upon him. He created us to need his presence in our lives. We can try to make life work without him, but it will be futile.
In English, the word ‘peace’ conjures up a passive picture, one showing an absence of civil disturbance or hostilities, or a personality free from internal and external strife. The biblical concept of peace is larger than that. it means ‘to be complete’ or ‘to be sound’. The verb conveys both a dynamic and a static meaning—’to be complete or whole’ or ‘to live well’.
God wants us to seek him. He wants us to know him and to have him involved in our lives. But there is a problem: we’ve all shut him out. The Bible describes it this way: “We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way” (Isaiah 53:6 -NIV). We’ve all tried to make our lives work without God. That’s what the Bible calls ‘sin’.
How do we get lasting peace?
So what is peace and how do we get it? As Jesus was with the disciples in the Upper Room, celebrating Passover, just before the storm of his betrayal, Jesus told them:
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let your hearts be afraid. (John 14:27 – ESV)
Aren’t those great words from Jesus? Notice Jesus is really clear about where peace comes from. It comes from him—from a relationship with Christ. When we try to embrace peace from the world, we end up with a distorted view of peace. We buy more, we sin more, we do things we normally wouldn’t do, because we’re following a plan which is not from God. Jesus tells us we need to embrace his peace.
Do not let your heart be troubled or fearful. (John 14:27b – The Voice)
The peace of God is not temporary—it comes from knowing Jesus Christ as our personal Saviour. Think about this: the Apostle Paul said:
Since you have been acquitted and made right through faith, we are able to experience true and lasting peace with God. (Romans 5:1)
Because of the faith we have in Jesus, we are forgiven. That’s great news. And one of the gifts we receive because of our faith is peace with God. Because we have the Peace of God, we can live at peace with God, with others, and even with ourselves. The peace we have with God takes care of the past, our sins are forgiven. We don’t have to be afraid to talk to God.
We need to restore peace with people
Because we have the Peace of God, we can also work to restore peace with the people in our lives. We are called to respect people, to seek to reconcile with people. To consider others as better than ourselves. Paul reminds us:
Do not retaliate with evil, regardless of the evil brought against you. Try to do what is good and right and honourable…If it’s within your power, make peace with all people. (Romans 12:17–18 – The Voice)
That’s a challenge, isn’t it? God’s peace should change the way we look at others. Just as God took steps to restore peace with us, we may have to take the initiative to restore peace with others.
Peace is not the absence of storms. Peace is experiencing the promise of God’s presence in the midst of the storm. God meets us in the midst of the mess of the storm. Jesus is our shelter. He may not stop the storm. But he will be with you in the storm; and he will deliver you. Jesus is sharing the peace that he received from God.
He is sharing inner peace. The inner peace that comes from knowing you are in a safe relationship, that no matter what happens it will be OK.