If you’re anything like me, you’re pretty weary from the constant bombardment of crises in 2020. Or you might just be downright angry about everything happening in the world right now. But deep down, our desire for peace–true peace–is actually stronger than ever.
And truth be told, peace is really what we’ve been deprived of ever since sin entered the world. We want the peace Adam and Eve knew in the Garden of Eden. We want more than simply the absence of war. We want true and genuine peace among all people and everything else in creation. We want shalom.
From a global level to a local level, the world is crying out for shalom. And the desire for peace isn’t limited to Christians. It’s an intrinsic desire that God has placed within all of humanity.
And yet peace seems outside of our grasp and control. We can’t change the chaos and contention that in our present day. We can’t undo the bad news that comes our way.
There is so much unknown and so much we can’t control. But peace can still be found. It might not seem like it, especially now. But there are ways we can actively lean into the peace of Jesus.
Here are three.
1. Find peace through cultivating joy.
“There are many who say, ‘Who will show us some good? Lift up the light of your face upon us, O Lord!’ You have put more joy in my heart than they have when their grain and wine abound. In peace I will both lie down and sleep; for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.” (Psalm 8:6-8)
We want life to be light and airy. Kind of like that feeling you had when school was out and summer vacation began. There was a freedom that came with summer break that I could never quite describe. I just wanted to have fun. The kind of fun that just wasn’t possible during the school year. I still feel that way about summer, even though it’s not marked by the loosening of responsibilities as it once was.
But that’s what the psalmist is saying most people desire. We just want to have a good time. But for the psalmist, joy can only be found in Jesus. His joy doesn’t come from food, wine, great parties, or even summer break. His joy is founded on something more solid. And through that joy comes peace.
As your life is set on the joy Jesus brings, a sense of peace follows. What the psalmist describes is more than simply seeing the silver lining in a situation. It’s about more than finding one thing to be happy about today. He’s talking about true joy that’s rooted and set on the promises and grace of Jesus. When you’re constantly reminded of his goodness in your life, there’s a sense of peace and security that comes with that joy.
As you hope to find peace amid the chaos, see the joy you’ve been given in Jesus.
2. Let peace be a lifelong ambition.
It’s easier to focus on seeking peace when your life is in turmoil. But we seem less worried about peace when things in our life feel manageable. The issue with that is Jesus wants us to live in his peace during every season. He wants to give us a peace that’s unlike the quick fixes of the world that ultimately leave us empty-handed.
Jesus gives us a kind of peace that no one and nothing in the world can provide. This is the promise he makes to us.
“I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.” (John 14:27)
The peace that Jesus brings is so much different than the kind we can create for ourselves. It’s a peace that sometimes makes no sense. It doesn’t always function in the realm of human rationality.
And the peace of Jesus isn’t just for moments of turmoil and fear of the unknown. It should fill our hearts and mind on a daily basis. So when it feels like you’re at the mercy of the waves being tossed back and forth, you can stand on the promise of Jesus’ peace that you know to be true in all seasons.
You can certainly cling to the peace of Jesus when the storms rage. But you must also desire the peace of Jesus when life seems relatively normal. What Jesus brings is not of this world. It’s so much better.
3. Seek to live righteously.
“Then justice will dwell in the wilderness, and righteousness abide in the fruitful field. The effect of righteousness will be peace, and the result of righteousness, quietness and trust forever.” (Isaiah 32:16-17)
The unknown of life can cause us to panic and react in ways we usually wouldn’t. And that’s because when we’re put under great pressure, the true depths of our heart come out. Sometimes it is good. Other times, it’s ugly.
I think it’s fair to say that the current cultural and political climate has pressed people and caused a whole lot of ugly to come out. Really the root of that is fear. So many of us are afraid of how all of this will end and how it will impact our lives. Fear is a strong driving force in the way we make decisions, but it shouldn’t be.
Even when you have no idea how something is going to end, choose to live righteously. In the midst of your fear and concern, actively choose to live righteously. Don’t allow the enemy to come in and rob you of the good work Jesus has done in your life. Instead, take those fears and concerns to Jesus and choose to live righteously. Out of righteousness peace is forged, because peace requires making the decision to not respond in your flesh.
Have you ever said or done something during a moment of high pressure that you regret? I know I have. When my mom passed away, I operated out of my pain for a long time. Out of that place, I hurt people with my words and my actions.
When your actions, words, and decisions are coming from the righteousness of Jesus, you won’t live with regret.
It’s not to say you can’t deal with the very raw and vulnerable emotions you have from the situation you’re in. When turmoil comes, it’s okay to not be put together. But it’s not an excuse to allow your flesh to be in the driver seat. Through the power of the Holy Spirit you can live a righteous life even when you’re under great emotional, physical, and mental pressure.
Jesus will walk with you and even use that situation for your good. But true peace is forged out of actively choosing righteousness. It’s one of the many ways Jesus makes you more like himself.
A peace not of this world
We are living in a time of high intensity full of many unknowns. The unknowns are so great that we have a hard time discerning truth from lies. People tell you they’re presenting facts and data. But how is that the other side’s facts and data prove the exact opposite thing?
Peace often feels so far away and we don’t even know how to navigate a life towards it. Yet Jesus’ promise of peace applies to our very real and current situations. He will bring peace in the midst of chaos, you can be sure of this. But we have to seek his peace and not the peace of this world.