By Kameel
t is precious, wonderful, and at times, rare. The world longs for peace but it always seems to be elusive. It is said of the Ottoman Turkish Empire (1300-1922) that there were only 24 consecutive years of peace throughout its entire history; otherwise, they were either fighting to take territory or to retain it.
While the world survived two world wars and a cold war, today there remain global hotspots, particularly in Asia, that are like dry tinder in a hot summer. One misguided spark and the region, if not the world, could go up in flames.
Add to that how even in the relatively prosperous and peaceful western world, many people lack personal peace, even as Christians. Be assured, this is not Godís will and He does have the best way forward.
In Part One, we learned that God has peace that surpasses all understanding. It is freely given, universal in scope, and eternal in duration. We learned that the pre-requisite to receiving this peace is to make a decision to obey Jesusí command: donít let your heart be troubled or afraid (John 14:27).
Here in Part Two, we want to learn how to establish Godís peace in your life.
In regard to the cause of conflict, even war, we need not go any further than the Book of James:
James 4:1-3 (MEV): Where do wars and fights among you come from? Do they not come from your lusts that war in your body? 2 You lust and do not have, so you kill. You desire to have and cannot obtain. you fight and war. Yet you do not have, because you do not ask. 3. You ask, and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your passions.
Bad as this - that our lusts cause conflict and war - there is something even worse. Humanity is serious danger of incurring the wrath of God, in part because of the lusts, greed, and sin. The Book of Romans says that Godís wrath is being stored up against all ungodliness and unrighteousness (1:18), hardness and impenitent hearts (2:5), and contentious people who do not obey the truth. Though we are made in Godís image, our sin nature and actions have put as in enmity towards God. The carnal mind is on a collision course with God and it cannot be subject to His law (8:7).
Frankly, it is the most dire situation to be an enemy with the living God, but thatís what Romans tells us. Yet, God unilaterally instituted a solution to rectify this situation.
It is called the gospel of Jesus Christ. He died for our sins, was buried and rose again on the 3rd day; this is the gospel in a nutshell. Believe this and receive Him and an amazing thing happens. We are Ďsavedí and Ďjustified,í which means we are declared not guilty and righteous.
Peace Established
Do you want to enter the peace process? From the very outset, Godís peace will come upon your heart and mind. A tranquility beyond your own enablement will enter in. How do you get it?
Say ĎYesí to the gospel and the Prince of Peace Jesus Christ, receive justification, and look what comes next:
Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ ó Romans 5:1
It couldnít been easier or clearer. When the Prince of Peace comes into your life, you are reconciled with God, adopted into His family, grafted into Israelís olive tree (Romans 11:17-24) justification sets in, and a peace beyond all understanding will take control of your life.
Till this day, I will never forget the feeling of joy and peace I received when I asked Jesus into my life. That peace has stayed with me ever since. What God has done for me, He will do for you.
Unlike the manmade Ďpeace process,í where peace is given in instalments, God gives you complete peace on the spot. Yet, it is possible to grow in peace, like you can grow in grace, faith and glory. In fact, you can come to a place of great peace, perfect peace, and permanent peace.
Our upcoming articles will show you how.
Verses to Ponder
Romans 5:9
Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.
Colossians 1:20
And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven.
It is instructive, even frightening, how many people in the relatively peaceful and prosperous western world suffer from mental health issues. These include anxiety, excessive stress, and depression. Even those who claim to be believers and attend church are not exempted from these things. Of course, if the root cause of this malaise is spiritual, then the solution will be equally spiritually.
God offers a spiritual solution: it is peace - His peace - and available to any and all who will receive it. Once received, the mental health issues clear up, wholeness is gained, and joy returns. Like the Ďpearl of great price,í Godís peace is worth everything to obtain and will not disappoint.
So far, we learned that the pre-requisite to peace is to recognise that it comes from Jesus. All the Lord asks is that before we receive peace, we make a decision to cooperate with His to refuse to let our heart be trouble or afraid (John 14:27).
The second thing we learned is to establish a beachhead of Godís peace, we have to be reconciled to God by the new birth. This comes by believing in the gospel of Christ: He died for our sins, was buried, and rose again the third day, according to the Scriptures. In other words, you canít have Godís peace until you are willing to receive in your heart the Prince of Peace, Jesus Christ, as Saviour and Lord. When this happens, we are justified by faith (not by religious works) and have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.
God offers a Ďpeace process.í Unlike the worldly version, which comes in instalments and can be incomplete and temporal at best, Godís peace comes freely, fully and permanently. We can and should grow in Godís peace, as we do in Godís grace, glory, and faith.
The next step is important. Godís peace can be likened to a personal body guard. Any force that would try to harm you or cause you to fret and worry can be thwarted. This protective, prevailing peace will guard your mind - which can be a battle field of negative, anxious though. It will guard your heart, from which flow the issues of life. Prevailing peace means that no challenge will go unmet and no challenge will succeed - Godís peace will prevail against any and all attacks. When you are peaceful in heart and mind, nothing can rock your boat.
How do we obtain Godís protective, prevailing peace? We learn about it in Philippians 4:6-7 (KJV):
Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. 7And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
So here is the secret to growing in the prevailing, protective peace of God: it comes through prayer. Like the air we breath, prayer is indispensable for Christian life and growth. Without a lifestyle of prayer, you will become weak like any other man. Great people of God have said: A prayer less Christian is a powerless Christian.
If you have the desire to be a person of prayer, but find it difficult to get started, here are two things you can do. 1) Read about prayer: in the Bible and also Christian literature. There are plenty of books on the subject. More importantly, 2) Find an Ďon-fireí prayer meeting, attend it regularly, and remain a part of it until you catch the fire!
Even before you pray, or at least when you pray, make sure you follow the first part of the advice: Be careful for nothing. Make a decision that you will not worry or fret about anything. This will require Godís grace, of course, but hand the burden to God, let Him do all the heavy lifting, and then proceed to pray.
Note Philippians 4 speaks of prayer (a broad term about seeking God in faith and utterance), supplication (where we make our requests to God), and thanksgiving. The latter is essential because, like people, God responds very well to an Ďattitude of gratitudeí (I Thessalonians 5:18).
In summary, hand your burdens to God, pray all kinds of prayers, give thanks to God in everything.
Years ago I wonderfully learned this lesson. Flying from my first ever visit to the Middle East, the airline gave me an obligatory stop in London - at my expense. Twenty-two years old, with little money, having been informed that ĎLondon is expensiveí and Ďall the hotel rooms are full,í I contemplated sleeping on the seats at Heathrow Airport. In fact, on the plane I started to feel distressed and anxious. Then I remember Philippians 4:6-7. I wanted to shout it from the housetops, but that would not be appropriate in flight. So I found the one place that would afford me privacy - the lavatory on the plane - and confessed to the LORD: Heavenly Father, I claim the promise of Philippians 4:6-7. When I walk out of this place, I thank you that I will experience your protective, prevailing peace on my heart and mind. In Jesusí Name, Amen.
Without exaggeration, once I opened the door, the peace of God descended upon me. The worry and fear were gone. Once I arrived in London, everything fell into place, I found a clean, quaint, and affordable hotel room for the night and my money stretched far enough to get me a London Indian curry!
God may or may not give you an immediate answer to your prayer. Yet, what you will receive - on the spot - is Godís peace in your heart and mind. His word guarantees it. Itís time to grow in the peace of God - through prayer.