John 14:27, 16:33; Phil 4:6-7
The word “peace.” Along with “love,” I vote for that word to be the misused term in modern times. People used to sing about it and wear a symbol for it on their shirts, and they claim to be “for peace” and “peace activists.” Of course, whether we wear the symbol or not, most of us aren't against peace, but that's another story. . .
The problem, once again, is that people get their definitions from the world and not the Scriptures. Our Lord actually addressed this in his last intimate talk with his disciples before the Passion. In the two verses from John’s Gospel, he tells us something about the world’s “peace,” and contrasts it with what he offers.
He promises us peace as what he’s leaving us, and he says it’s not “as the world gives.” What type of peace does the world offer? It’s transitory. Countries that used to be as friendly as two nations can be with other are at each other’s throats at a moment’s notice. And it’s often fake even when supposedly we have it. The world calls something “peace” when really it’s just a cease-fire or the absence of all-out conflict. Peace is not the absence of conflict but the presence of a certain Person.
That’s why one of his titles is the Prince of Peace. When he’s in charge, we have peace. The Hebrew term for peace, Shalom, has a lot of insight for us here. It means that everything is in its proper place. Where’s there’s disorder and chaos, you don’t have true peace.
So what does bring peace? Well, Jesus said that he told us these things so that we’ll have peace. But even when we have his peace, that doesn’t mean there’s no conflict. On the contrary, in this world we will have trouble. But we can take heart, because even though we have trouble in this world, it’s a conquered enemy. Our Lord has overcome it, so there’s nothing to fear.
I think that’s the key. Peace and fear are incompatible with each other. That leads us to the last passage for today. Paul presents a stark contrast for us: Fear and Peace. What’s the difference between the two? How do we move from fear and anxiety into peace? What’s the source of peace? The Presence of our Savior!
When you’re feeling anxious or worried or fearful, take it to your Shepherd. You bring it before his Throne. But there’s another thing to keep in mind which I think really helps us keep perspective. You bring your petitions to him with thanksgiving. Before I ask anything from him, I like to acknowledge his goodness and what he’s done for us so far, along with a glorious truth which he’s revealed to us that relates to the situation. For instance, if I’m praying for someone to recover from sickness, I start with “I thank you Father, because I know that all healing comes from you. You are Yahweh Rapha, the God who heals us.”
And as we submit our requests and thanksgiving to him, his peace will guard us. Specifically it’ll guard our hearts and minds, so that anxieties and worries have no hold on us.
I want this for myself. Do you?
Lord Jesus, you truly are the Prince of Peace. As I submit to you, all fear goes. I repent of all worry and anxiety, and ask you to forgive me. Please help me to trust.