On the popular television show, Songland, recording artist Will I Am chose a new song to record from a group of songwriters. The title–Be Nice. The lyrics are simple- Hey, be different, be nice. Just smile. I promise it will change your life. While these lyrics won’t go down as award winning, the sentiment is so […]
For those in the Christian faith, we are called to cultivate a culture of peace. The Gospel is, after all, called the Gospel of Peace. Now more than ever, our culture needs peace. So how does a person of faith cultivate peace?
First, we understand that peace begins with reconciliation to God. We have been reconciled to God through Christ. Prior to Jesus’ death on the cross, our relationship with God was broken by sin. Our sin made us enemies of God, but Christ reconciled us to the Father through His death on the cross. He took our sin upon himself and restored our relationship. Jesus brought us peace. He is the Prince of Peace.
When Jesus walked the earth with His disciples, he often greeted them with, “Peace be with you.” In John 14: 27. Jesus says, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” This is a promise based on what has already been done. In the midst of troubling times, you can still have peace through relationship with Christ. In many churches, we greet each other with the peace of Christ. It’s a tradition that helps us to remember the peace that is ours.
If you struggle to live in peace, understand the reconciliation that has already happened and then be intentional. In Luke 21:14, Jesus urged the disciples to make up their minds not to worry. this implies choice. We can wallow in worry or we can choose not to give in to such thoughts.
When your peace is broken by worry, observe your thoughts. Are they driven by doubt, a lack of trust, a feeling that you are alone facing problems? Worry is the mental part of anxiety and motivated by a lack of trust and doubt in God who has you in the palm of His hand. He orders your steps. He works all things for your good. Knowing the promises of God, reading about His care for you, His sacrificial love for you, drives away worry. So take those worried thoughts captive by replacing worry (what if…) with what God does and promises (because He…).
Next, practice living a centered life. Be more in the moment, focusing less on past fears or future worries. Right now, today, God can give you what you need. Pray and read His Word to combat the voices around you that rev up fear and anxiety.
When your peace is broken, problem-solve where and when you can, trusting God to lead you by His Spirit. Remember, Galatians 5 tells us the Spirt and the flesh war against each other. To win over fear and anxiety, we must be informed more and more by the Spirit. With the help of the Spirit, we can be anxious about nothing. This is very hard to do in our own power. But with God, all things are possible.
To strengthen peace, let go of worry. Make it useless to you. It serves no purpose but to bring anxiety and fear.
Once you find ways to strengthen your inner peace, work out conflicts with others. We are to be reconciled to each other, Matthew 5:24. The natural consequence of our reconciliation to God should be a desire to work things out with other people. If you won’t work on your relationships with others, something is blocking your heart. Search yourself. Spend time in quiet meditation before the Lord. Allow the Spirt to direct you. In the Sermon on the Mount, peacemakers are called the children of God.
Perhaps we don’t have peace because we don’t look to the right source for help. We operate more in our power, get caught up in cultural-think that is more and more devoid of Christian truth and then wonder why we’re so anxious and worried, I recently did a reset on this. I spent time doing what I suggest in this blog It calmed me down and reminded me of how to once again cultivate peace. This is the promise given us in Isaiah 26:3, “You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you!” Where are your thoughts fixed? Where do you look for peace? A child of God is called to be a peacemaker. During a time of great turmoil it’s time for Christians to lead the way to peace.