The Quest For Peace
Peace is one of life's most precious possessions. Everyone wants it but not everyone has it or knows how to get it. Peace is not so much the absence of conflict as it is an inner state of the mind. A man can be at peace when all of the world around him is in shambles, as the reading of Paul's prison epistles clearly demonstrate. Inasmuch as everyone has a quest for peace, let us see what the Bible tells us about how to attain it.
Peace Can Be Found By Obedience to the Lord's Word
One of the blessings given to those who follow God's word is "peace." Consider the following precious promises from God's word:
The Lord will give strength unto his people; the Lord will bless his people with peace (Psa. 29:11).
But the meek shall inherit the earth; and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace...: Mark the perfect man, and behold the upright: for the end of that man is peace (Psa. 37:11, 37).
Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them"(Psa. 119:165).
Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: be-cause he trusteth in thee (Isa. 26:3).
And the work of righteousness shall be peace; and the effect of righteousness quietness and assurance for ever (Isa. 32:17).
For length of days, and long life, and peace, shall they add to thee.... Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace (Prov. 3:2, 17).
For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace" (Rom. 8:6).
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith (Gal. 5:22).
And as many as walk according to this rule, peace be on them, and mercy, and upon the Israel of God (Gal. 6:16).
As we approach the subject of peace, we have the firm conviction that the greatest peace to be found in this life is found in obedience to the Lord's word.
Peace Because All Is Right With God
One's inner peace begins with the assurance that one is at peace with God. Eliphaz said, "Acquaint now thyself with him, and be at peace: thereby good shall come unto thee" (Job 22:21). One attains his peach with God through the Lord Jesus Christ. Remember these passages.
Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid (John 14:27).
For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us; Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace; And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby: And came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh (Eph. 2:14-17).
The word which God sent unto the children of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ: (he is Lord of all:) (Acts 10:36).
When one obeys the gospel, he is appealing for God to forgive him of his sins so that he can be at peace with God (see 1 Pet. 3:21). Having found that peace that comes from knowing that all is right with God, one can say like David, "I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep: for thou, LORD, only makest me dwell in safety" (Psa. 4:8).
Peace Because All Is Right With Oneself
A person must learn to live at peace with himself before he will have much peace with others. The idea of contentment is related to inner peace. Paul wrote, "Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content" (Phil. 4:11). Here is an inner peace that is not dependent upon outward circumstances.
A person can find inner contentment with the knowledge that he has a pure conscience. A person needs a good conscience to have inner peace (1 Tim. 1:5).
A person will find peace with himself only after he learns to be content with his wages (Luke 3:14). Solomon wrote, "He that is greedy of gain troubleth his own house; but he that hateth gifts shall live" (Prov. 15:27). The greedy will never find that inner contentment associated with peace. Paul taught men to be content with the necessities of life. He said, "And having food and raiment let us be therewith content" (1 Tim. 6:8). The author of Hebrews added, "Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee" (Heb. 13:5). Much of our absence of peace is created by greed, covetousness, lack of trust in God's providence, and other manifestations of a weak faith.
Much inner peace is lost because men have such high, unreasonable goals that they can never accomplish the goals they set before themselves. Interruptions interfere with their attaining their goals and create turmoil in their life. People even those whom they love, such as the wife and children are thrown aside in the quest to achieve unrealistic goals. One throws away his inner peace to sacrifice himself on the altar of his own ambitions.
Peace Because All Is Right With Those Around Us
The Bible exhorts men to live at peace with one's fellowman.
Let him eschew evil, and do good; let him seek peace, and ensue it (1 Pet. 3:11).
Salt is good: but if the salt have lost his saltiness, where with will ye season it? Have salt in yourselves, and have peace one with another (Mark 9:50).
For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost (Rom. 14:17).
Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another (Rom. 14:19).
For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints (1 Cor. 14:33).
And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful (Col. 3:15).
And to esteem them very highly in love for their work's sake. And be at peace among yourselves (1 Thess. 5:13).
Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord (Heb. 12:14).
When we learn to identify the things that disturb the peace, we can work toward correcting it. Here are some things that disturb peace among brethren: offences (whether intended or unintended), sinful attitudes such as arrogance, condescension, bitterness, malice, hatred, strife, sedition, etc.
A person cannot always control the circumstances about him. However, he can find more peace by focusing on his own attitudes toward those circumstances. Here are some things one can do:
Develop a sense of self-esteem that enables one to look at himself and know that he has done all that he can to promote and keep the peace. Not even Jesus was able to live at peace with all men. Remember that they crucified him! Paul wrote, "If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men" (Rom. 12:18). One must not God. Eliphaz said, "Acquaint now thyself with him, and be at peace: thereby good shall come unto thee" (Job 22:21). One attains his peace with God through the Lord Jesus Christ. Remember these passages: allow his own inner peace to await the approval of every-one about him. It will never come.
Be considerate of the feelings of others. Learn to be concerned, not only with what you want, but also with what others wish. "Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others" (Phil. 2:3-4). Selfishness destroys peace.
Be forebearing (Eph. 4:2; Col. 3:13).
Go the second mile (Matt. 5:41).
Pass over an infraction. "The discretion of a man deferreth his anger; and it is his glory to pass over a transgression" (Prov. 19:11).
Forgive those who sin against you (Matt. 6:12-15).
Be obliging. Be ready to forego the use of your liberties for the sake of peace (see 1 Cor. 8:10-12). What is the joy of getting one's way if it leads to confusion and trouble accompanies it?
Avoid known sources of trouble. "Make no friendship with an angry man; and with a furious man thou shalt not go: lest thou learn his ways, and get a snare to thy soul" (Prov. 22:24-25).
When a person does these things, the Lord has promised to give him peace. "And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus" (Phil. 4:7). Moses wrote, "The Lord bless thee, and keep thee: The Lord make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee: The Lord lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace" (Num. 6:24-26).
(Some of the ideas for this article are taken from the lesson "Seek Peace and Pursue It" from Better Than Medicine by Leroy Brownlow.)
Guardian of Truth XL: 6 p. 2