By Clarence L. Haynes Jr., Crosswalk.com
If there is one thing our world is crying out for right now is peace. There seems to be unrest everywhere you look and what we have held as foundations seem to be shaking. However, in the midst of this, we are told that peace should be ruling in our hearts.
Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. – Colossians 3:15
What does it mean to have the peace of God and how can we find it in the middle of chaos? We often make the assumption that peace is the absence of chaos and that is not accurate. Peace is the presence of calm in the midst of chaos. This is the type of peace God is offering so let’s look closer at what it means to have the peace of God.
What Is the Meaning of the Peace of God?
There are different places in Scripture that mention this peace that only God can give. There are three characteristics of peace I want to highlight from Scripture.
1. God’s peace is different.
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. – John 14:27
Many times in the world, peace is circumstantial. When the circumstances align, when you agree or come to an agreement then and only then can peace be had. Peace is often negotiated for the purpose of bringing an end to the conflict. Because of this to have peace in the world everything must line up. This is not how God’s peace works. The peace of God does not come because there is agreement. Many times the circumstances are so at odds with each other that it would make peace seem impossible because there is too much chaos. This is what makes God’s peace different. It exists in the midst of chaos and that is by design.
If you notice the second part of this verse Jesus said don’t let your hearts be troubled and don’t be afraid. How is this possible if things are falling apart around you and everything looks desperate? The reason you don’t have to be worried or afraid is that you have God’s peace. Again, it may not match the circumstances but that is what makes God’s peace different. When you can walk through the storm not fearful of it overtaking you, then you are experiencing what it means to have the peace of God.
2. God’s peace is a defense.
And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. – Philippians 4:7
It almost seems like a contradiction to put peace and defense in the same sentence, but this is exactly what the peace of God is. It stands watch over your heart in the same way a military guard stands watch. This is what the word means in the Greek. So the peace of God will watch over your heart and mind. It will come against any foreign invaders like anxiety, worry, or fear to keep them out so you can remain calm and focused in the midst of your situation.
3. God’s peace dwells.
Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times and in every way. The Lord be with all of you. – 2 Thessalonians 3:16
If there is something to grip your heart about what it means to have the peace of God it is simply this. The peace of God should dwell with you all the time. In Galatians 5, Paul mentions that one of the fruits of the Spirit is peace. Since God’s Spirit lives in you, then his peace should dwell in you as well. His peace is designed to linger with you and be a refuge when you are dealing with the issues of life.
What Does it Mean to Have the Peace of God in Our Hearts?
The beautiful thing about the peace of God is that it flows from within your heart. I want to make a simple comparison here. Consider Luke 6:45,
A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.
I know what you are thinking what does this have to do with the peace of God? I look at this verse as a heart check. Jesus was saying that what comes out of your mouth is a reflection of what is in your heart. This means if you see anxiety, worry, and fear flowing out of your mouth then that is what is ruling in your heart. On the other side if peace comes out then peace is ruling in your heart. If the peace of God is ruling in your heart it will be seen by what you say and by what you do. God’s peace not only affects how you look and feel about a situation it impacts how you react to it.
How Do You Get the Peace of God?
Let’s face it even though there are promises of God’s peace. Even though we have the Holy Spirit living in our hearts, there are still times you don’t have peace. How then do you get to this place where the peace of God reigns in your heart? There is one answer to this question…pray. Many times when you don’t experience peace is because you tend to focus on everything else going on and you forget who God is. You forget God’s sovereignty. You forget God’s authority. You forget who you serve and who is really in control. When this happens your peace will most certainly disappear. This is why prayer is so important. In that same Philippians chapter before peace sets up to guard your heart, God gives you a responsibility.
This is how you get to the place of peace. When your situation leads you to anxiety, that same situation should lead you to prayer. Whatever your source of anxiety or worry is, place that situation in God’s hands. This means you will trust him to bring you through it and bring resolution. When you get to that place, his peace will now take up residence in your heart. In other words, God’s peace comes when you make an exchange. It is simply saying to God, I am giving you all my anxieties and worries. When you do that in exchange God says I will give you my peace and this will guard your heart through this situation. By removing the worry crowding your heart and giving it to God you make room for his peace to fill that space.
When you really think about it the peace of God is an absolutely, wonderful gift God has given you. If you will allow it the peace of God will transcend everything that comes your way in this life. It will stand as a military style guard protecting your heart and mind. Regardless of what is happening around you, it will not move you or shake you because you have the peace of God. Others around you may not understand it but they don’t know what it means to have the peace of God ruling in their life. I don’t know what you are facing today but if you will make that exchange in prayer, God will most certainly give you his peace. It is his promise and his joy to do it.
Photo credit: Unsplash/Carolyn V
Clarence L. Haynes Jr. is a speaker, Bible teacher, author and co-founder of The Bible Study Club. He has spent more than 30 years serving the body of Christ in various capacities and has just released his first book, The Pursuit of Purpose. If you have ever struggled trying to find God’s will, this book will help you discover the different ways God leads you into his perfect will. To learn more about his ministry please visit clarencehaynes.com.