Guest Author - LeeAnn Bonds
You may have noticed—our world is not a peaceful place. In the amount of time it would take you to pick up a pen and find a piece of paper, I’m certain twenty examples of no-peace would pop into your mind unbidden. Take a minute or two to think, and a grievous list of the reasons behind and under our lack of peace would come to you also. I don’t even want to type out the list I thought of.
My sisters, do not despair. We belong to the Prince of Peace. No matter the chaos swirling without or within, we can have the peace that passes understanding. I know this and you know this. But still, it’s not so easy. I am almost ashamed, because though I live in comfort and have a loving marriage I struggle to cultivate a peaceful spirit. I know that many of you deal daily with heartbreaking difficulties, the depth of which I can scarcely imagine. Perhaps some of you should be teaching me what you have learned about peace. Please do, if you wish. But for today, I will write a reminder for myself about the Way of peace, and the Truth of peace, so that I may be more able to live a Life of peace.
Jesus is the Way of peace. He is our peace, Paul told the Ephesians. Jesus’ life, atoning death and resurrection in power are the gospel of peace. No quest after peace can be truly successful unless the Prince of Peace takes up residence within you. I pray that if your life is not built upon this crucial foundation-stone, you will come to the cross without further delay.
The Truth of peace is that it’s a gift from Jesus. He knows, so clearly, that we’ll experience anything but peace many times in our lives, and that some of these times will even be because we are His followers. The Truth is offensive to those who won’t believe it, and those offended can make our circumstances a torment. But Jesus also says, “Peace I leave with you. My peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Your heart must not be troubled or fearful.” Ah yes, my heart. My heart which needs to be created anew within me by His Truth. Remember the place that reads “Your Word is Truth.” Steeping myself daily in the Scriptures will permeate my heart and soul with peace like nothing else. Jesus is the Word, and He says, “I have told you these things so that in Me you may have peace. You will have suffering in this world. Be courageous! I have conquered the world.” Those are some fortifying marching orders.
What does the Life of peace look like? Our Bible is not silent there, of course. All through it are instructions, proverbs, promises and commands about how to live. We so need to absorb all this truth, and let it seep into our every thought, word and deed. Paul says it this way: “So then, we must pursue what promotes peace and what builds up one another.” I know that some things that promote internal peace are a reasonable schedule, careful stewardship of my health, intentionally cultivating good relationships with others, especially those I tend to take for granted, enough sunshine, enough sleep, care in managing my finances, and many other external factors. My enemy and yours foments stress and overload in our lives for the very purpose of destroying our peace and our effectiveness for the kingdom of God.
I feel I’m overdue to sit down with a cup of tea and reassess where my time and energy are going every day. Too many good things are choking the peace from my spirit. I absolutely hate to prune away anything, but it’s plain that it must be done once again. After all, as God moved Isaiah to write, “You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.” Whose mind is stayed on You means whose intellectual framework is leaning and resting on You. If I’m running on my own strength, and if my mind is frazzled, overwhelmed, undernourished and exhausted, I can hardly expect to feel peaceful, to have a peaceable outlook, or to be a winsome ambassador for the Prince of Peace. I encourage you join me in setting aside a little time to examine our datebooks, our to-do lists, the state of our relationships, and especially our relationship with the One who loves us, and gave Himself for us. Join me in deciding to pursue only those things which promote peace, leaning on Him for guidance. Do let me know in the forums or by email if you do this and if it helps you.