Tag Archives: the peace of God

Peace Be With You…

“Be anxious for nothing, 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 minds through Christ Jesus.” (Phil 4: 6-7)

Jesus is the Prince of peace. The Angels announced peace on Earth. Jesus promised to leave us His peace. The above scripture is a very familiar one. But when our hearts and minds are assailed, and our prayer life seems to have packed its bags and moved to another planet, where do we find this peace?

We know Jesus is always with us because He promised that He would be, and because His Spirit dwells in us. But at the heart of a victorious and fruitful Christian life has to be the experience of walking in the reality of His presence. And if we are experiencing His presence we will be experiencing His peace. If you are like me these experiences are often short lived and irregular, like those occasional moments on a cloudy day when the sun breaks through and illuminates life in liquid gold. How do we get to walk in the sunshine?

There are different areas where this applies, but the main one – for a people called dwell in love – has to be the area of our relationships. This is where we need our hearts to be guarded. Following close behind that must be wisdom in decision-making, and here it’s our minds we need to guard; but I will look at this in another article.

As we know, the devil’s mission is always to destroy, and as often as not our sunshine is ruined not by destruction in our circumstances, but by destruction in our relationships. Paul famously goes into detail about how to stand against the onslaughts of the enemy In his letter to the Ephesians. Specifically, he writes about “all the fiery darts of the evil one.” Fiery darts often come in the form of unexpected negative reactions from someone close, often a loved one. if we let those darts penetrate our hearts, we flare up too: fighting ensues, and a fire starts, damaging the relationship. Yet we have been given a resource in that will extinguish those darts, and we all know what it is:

“Above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one.” (Ephesians 6:16)

If we quench those darts with the shield of faith there is no fire. Behind the shield of faith we can find the peace of Christ.

All well and good, but how? There are 2000 years’ worth of applications of the image of the shield of faith, so I do not pretend that the following is the only way of understanding the scripture. But in this context I see the shield that we hold as the one that tells us that Jesus has overcome the world, and has lifted us into a heavenly place of fellowship with Himself and the Father. Now it becomes simple. When a fiery dart comes our way, do we sit on our heavenly seat with Jesus, and say: “excuse me Lord, while I just pop down there and argue with my spouse?“   Or do we receive His peace and hide our hearts behind the shield that tells us that His peace is ours?

This still may sound easier said than done, and I am sure it is, especially when she said this! And he said that! And that’s just not true! Maybe so. But at His trial Jesus said nothing to His accusers, and went on to tear down the veil of the temple with His love. The trials of “unfair“  words that come our way are not even the tiniest whispers in comparison with what Jesus went through on our behalf, so if we cannot respond with a healing word  to the hurt/anger/disappointment that in some way we have caused, then at least we can say nothing and stay behind our shield where God’s peace reigns. We don’t put our heads out again until we can share what the Prince of peace has given us.

If we hold up our shield to the darts that come our way we can be peacemakers, but if we don’t we become peace breakers. We know which of the two groups are called the children of God.

Peace on Earth

I was born in 1950, so I was 17 in the “Summer of Love,” as 1967 came to be called. When I went to University I grew my hair and said “Peace, man!” to people, and I spent my 20’s generally identifying with hippie culture and coveting the lifestyle, even though (thankfully!) I was far too fearful to fully embrace it. Peace deals are brokered in the Middle East and across the world, political systems strive to bring a degree of peace to the lives of their communities, and harassed parents and carers crave just “five minutes peace” where they can spend a few moments recovering from the turmoil of their daily lives; but neither the world nor the flesh can find peace, because the old man “grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts.” World peace remains a cliché, an impossible dream forever eroded by the power of sin and death, because the world and the flesh do not enter into God’s rest.

We, however, are no longer of this world. The Kingdom we belong to is ruled by the Prince of Peace Himself, who promises us the very peace that the world can’t give: “Peace I leave with youMy peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you.” (John 14:27) If we read the Bible, we will know the words. But what some of us need is for this promise of Kingdom peace to move from the area of theory and mental assent, where they can evaporate so easily into the same misty dream that is shared by the world’s and the flesh’s version, into the place where they are the solid ground under our feet that we walk on day by day; Kingdom minute by Kingdom minute.

Hebrews 13: 20-21 might help:

Now may the God of peace who brought up our Lord Jesus from the dead, that great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make you complete in every good work to do His will, working in you what is well pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.”

The resurrection of Christ is ascribed individually to all three members of the Godhead (For a summary of these scriptures, see https://www.blueletterbible.org/faq/don_stewart/don_stewart_1350.cfm), therefore the God of Peace who raised Jesus from the dead is the whole of the Trinity: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. At the cross, the power of sin and death was destroyed forever, and three days later the God of Peace became a living breathing reality on the face of the earth for the first time since it was created. The angels announced “Peace on Earth,” Calvary made it possible, the Resurrection delivered it, and Pentecost made it our own. Peace permeates the being of God and flows into all that He touches: as oxygen is to the Earth, God’s peace is an element of the very atmosphere of His Kingdom, and we breathe it with every step that we take when we walk after the Spirit and not after the flesh.

Paul emphasises the pre-eminence of peace as a characteristic of the Godhead in both his letters to the Thessalonians. In 1 Thess 5:23 he writes:” Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ,” And in 2 Thess 3:16 he writes “Now may the Lord of Peace Himself give you peace always in every way.” To walk in the peace of God is not just about being free of anxiety and fear: God’s peace is the agent of our sanctification, the balm that prepares the bride of Christ for her wedding day. This is made clear in Philippians 4:7 – words that most of us probably know by heart: “And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus,” and again in Col 3 15: “And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful.

I think these scriptures make one thing clear: the peace of God isn’t a bonus, the icing on the cake of our salvation; it is in every crumb of the cake. Jesus Christ brought salvation to the world so that the peace that pervades Heaven can be made manifest on Earth. The peace of God is a reality of the spiritual dimension that can only be accessed by “the new man, which was created according to God in all righteousness and holiness.” (Eph 4:24) If we aren’t walking in God’s peace, we aren’t walking in the Spirit, because the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Peace. When the peace of God isn’t ruling in our lives, Jesus isn’t ruling either. It’s our hearts and minds that the peace of God “guards in Christ Jesus.” Our spirits are seated with Him in heavenly places, but unless the peace of God is ruling in our hearts we aren’t bringing anything to Earth from where they are seated. Peace is the litmus of our spiritual walk.

I will close with one more point, which I will return to in another article. If you feel like the atmosphere of Heaven only exists in a room that you are locked out of, the psalmist has given us a key that will open the door. Psalm 119:165 tells us “Great peace have those who love Your law, And nothing causes them to stumble.” And just as we know the promise of peace, we also know the requirement of the New Commandment, which is to love one another. “To love, then, is to obey the whole law,” writes Paul. (Romans 13:10) If we want to have “great peace” we need to keep God’s law and show someone His love. The converse also applies: if we don’t have the peace of God it could be that there is someone to whom we are failing to show His love…

The enemy took “Love and Peace” and made it a slogan of the hippy movement. It’s time we took it back for the Kingdom of God.