Just about everybody would like a peaceful life, but very few would actually do what was required to get it. A peaceful life is pretty easy for a hermit living on his own in a cave, but as soon as you add another person, the odds for conflict rise exponentially. Peace doesn’t come naturally to any of us because we are all basically selfish, but it is an absolute necessity if we want to become children of God.
Children of God are different to regular children. If you’ve ever grown up with a brother or a sister you’ll know that a peaceful life is not the default. It’s sin that causes conflict to occur and a deep desire to get our own way. But when we become children of God, our lives are submitted to Him, our commitment is to please Him. When we give our life to God we start on the lifetime pathway of peace.
Come to me, all who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. (Matthew 11:28-30)
There are loads more references to peace in the bible, but I want to pick out a few today for us to consider how important this subject is to God.
Firstly it is one of the names given to Jesus himself. Last year I wrote a series of blogs on the names of Jesus and one of His names was ‘prince of peace’ taken from Isaiah 9:6 For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
As the prince of peace, Jesus has brought us peace in a number of areas;
1. We have peace with God
Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. (Romans 5:1)
This is the most important peace as it restores our relationship with our loving heavenly father. Until this relationship is restored our lives are in turmoil because we were created to have a relationship with God, but our sin was separating us. When Jesus dealt with our sin the relationship was restored and we can now experience true peace.
2. We have peace in ourselves
Knowing you are right with God gives you an inner calm and tranquillity. When our relationship with God is right, all is as it should be.
And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts (Colossians 3:15)
3. We have peace with others
Finally, brothers, rejoice. Aim for restoration, comfort one another, agree with one another, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you. (2 Corinthians 13:11)
We can never really have peace with others until we first have peace with God and that inner peace within ourselves that helps us then to reach out to others.
Not having that peace with others can cause all sorts of problems in our lives. 3 blockages that can result are;
(1) It blocks my fellowship with God
You can’t be right with God and off with other people
Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen.(1 John 4:20)
(2) It blocks my prayers from being answered
This passage relates to marriage, but the principle is the same
Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers.(1 Peter 3:7)
(3) It blocks my happiness
Remember, the other name for blessed is happy. The peace we sow into others will be returned to us and cause us to be happy too.
And those who are peacemakers will plant seeds of peace and reap a harvest of righteousness. (James 3:18) (NLT)
There is so much more to say about this subject, that I will continue it next week when we will look at some principles for resolving conflict, but for now I will leave you with a great biblical blessing from Numbers 6:25-26
The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.