“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 betroubled, neither let them be afraid.” — Jesus, in John 14:27
I think we’ve mistaken what peace really is.
We read verses like the one above, which is awesome, and we interpret it as, “OK, having peace means I won’t feel worried and I won’t have fear. So if I feel worry and fear, I’m not at peace.”
That’s how the world defines peace. We have an upsetting feeling in our hearts and so we say, “I’m just not at peace.”
But Jesus says, “Not as the world gives do I give to you.” Jesus gives us a peace that 1) the world can’t give us and 2) is different from the world’s definition of peace. Google defines peace as “freedom from disturbance; quiet and tranquility.”
The reality is that, for a Christian, true peace begets the earthly sense of peace, if we really lean into it.
Jesus told His disciples in John 14 that he’s giving them peace. The peace He gives them, and what we receive as well through the giving of the Holy Spirit, is ultimately a spiritual peace.
Through Christ, we are at peace with God. We are no longer at war with or at enmity with or against God. We are taken into the fold and held and loved. That is true peace! That is the reality for every believer. We no longer need to fear that God will abandon us or leave us, the ultimate lack of peace.
It’s not a feeling. It’s a reality. But that reality can lead to a feeling of earthly peace.
I was reading in Proverbs 3 this morning and there were a couple mentions of peace. They go like this:
- Verses 1-2: “My son, do not forget my teaching, but let your heart keep my commandments, for length of days and years of life and peace they will add to you.”
- Verses 17-18, speaking of Wisdom: “Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace. She is a tree of life to those who lay hold of her; those who hold her fast are called blessed.”
This peace comes from a reliance on wisdom and teaching, namely, teaching from God’s Word and a reliance on God. In this same chapter, Solomon tells his son, “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths” (v. 5-6).
Because we’ve trusted God with our lives and received true peace, we are able to find earthly peace. We’re able to find, as Proverbs 3:8 says, “healing to your flesh and refreshment to your bones.”
This was an important discovery for me because I often struggled with a lack of earthly peace. My anxiety and depression would drive me crazy. I had a peace with God based on my salvation, but I couldn’t apply it right.
I couldn’t say, “I’m good with God. Because of that, God has ordered my steps and said, ‘Fear not, for I am with you.’ He’s said that ‘for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.’ He’s said that I should not let my heart be troubled, nor afraid.”
Now, I can say that. Sometimes. It’s tough sometimes to cling to that peace, but it’s there for the taking. I just had to redefine it.