Peace! In this world just the very word is like water to a thirsty man. But there is a peace that is greater than anything in this world. The peace of God which passes all understanding, as Paul wrote in Philippians 4:7.
And the peace of Christ is not like the peace we find in this world. There is no comparison. When we think of peace in this world we think about the cessation of conflict, or the end of war, or when when fighting around us stops.
We all look for peace in our lives and most people just can’t seem to find it or enough of it. They look to things and places to seek peace. They go to rivers, lakes, mountains or the beach in the hope of finding peace. But this kind of peace does not last. It is temporary because it relies on external factors. But we will see that the peace from God, the peace of Christ Jesus is very different.
The peace of Christ does not rely on external factors or influences. It is not about where you are or what you are doing but how the Holy Spirit works within you to keep you at peace.
We see many examples of people losing their peace in this world. Road rage, arguments, divorce, fighting, shootings and so on. Think for a moment…would these things occur if the person was at peace within? How much road rage for example could be avoided if the aggravated party just overlooked the supposed wrong and moved on?
When a person finds peace within they are not worried about the external factors and issues of this life. They find a stability in Christ which allows them to weigh up all situations and come to conclusions based on truth rather than out of control emotion.
The greatest battle for peace is not about fights, arguments or wars. It is about the battle in our minds. It is the battle against temptation and the evil desires and passions of human nature that lead us astray. It is about the sin factor within man that separates man from God.
But if and when we can find the way to overcome these things, then we have peace with Christ Jesus. And He gives us His peace to rest upon us and keep us at peace. But how do we find His peace?
Finding the Peace of Christ
The peace of Christ is an inner peace brought about by faith and the application of the teachings of Jesus and walking in the Spirit. When we know the teachings of Christ and we walk by the Spirit we set our minds on the things of the Spirit. Look at Romans 8:5-6.
5 For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit.
6 To set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace.
Those who have their mind set on the flesh are opposed to the ways of the Spirit & thus opposed to Jesus Christ. When you are focussing your thoughts on your problems, worries, temptations or something that has upset you, your mind is set on the flesh. Indeed ANYTHING that takes your mind off Jesus and seeking His ways and His truth is setting your mind on the flesh. And as the scripture above says, “To set the mind on the flesh is death.”
But verse 6 continues saying that when we set our minds on the things of the Spirit we receive life and…PEACE! This is the peace of Christ. It comes through walking in the Spirit and thinking about the things of the Spirit. But what are the things of the Spirit? Look at Philippians 4:8.
Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things
The key to this scripture is one word…THINK! It is what you think about that determines everything about you. Thoughts are of your spirit and if your thoughts are on evil or things that will tear you down, you will not have peace. But when you set your mind on any of the things Paul noted in this scripture, then as he wrote in the verse that preceded this one, “And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, will keep your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:7)
And keeping on this “think” theme we see that the battle is in the mind and that if we are to have peace and win this war we must follow Paul’s advice in 2 Corinthians 10:3-6.
3 For though we live in the world we are not carrying on a worldly war,
4 for the weapons of our warfare are not worldly but have divine power to destroy strongholds.
5 We destroy arguments and every proud obstacle to the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ,
6 being ready to punish every disobedience, when your obedience is complete.
The arguments we destroy and the strongholds we put down are within our own mind and thinking. That is why he says to take every thought captive. If we can destroy the evil thought before it takes hold, then we can prevent sliding into a focus on the flesh and keep our minds on the Spirit.
How do we take thoughts captive? Pray about them, change your mind to think of something else. Sing psalms, hymns, choruses and spiritual songs. Stop and read your bible or meditate on your favourite scriptures. All of these things meet the requirements in the Philippians 4:8 scripture above.
Not as the World Gives
And there is another little gem about the peace of Christ that we see in these scriptures. In John 14:27. He says,
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you.
Not only does He give us His peace, He leaves it with us. And then He says, “…not as the world gives do I give to you.”
Think about this for a moment. How does the world give? People give gifts to others usually expecting something in return. The classic way of the world is, “You scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours.” It is a selfish giving because the people of the world are on the lookout for something to their benefit.
But this is not the way of Jesus. Jesus gives expecting nothing in return. He gives without price as it says in Revelation 22:17, “And let him who is thirsty come, let him who desires take the water of life without price.”
That is why it is a free gift from God. Jesus gives us eternal life without price and in His knowledge we also receive His peace without cost. There is nothing we can give Him. All we need to receive His gifts is to accept them in faith. And that is very different to the way the world gives. Jesus gives with no strings attached.
Praise the name of Jesus for all he has done and is still doing with us and in us.
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