Lasting peace is something that most want but few ever find. It just seems as though there are far too many obstacles; too many things that rob us of our peace. Duke University did a study on “peace of mind.” The factors found to contribute greatly to emotional and mental stability are:
1. The absence of suspicion and resentment. Apparently, nursing a grudge is a major factor in unhappiness.
2. Not living in the past. An unwholesome preoccupation with old mistakes and failures leads to depression.
3. Not wasting time and energy fighting conditions you cannot change. We should cooperate with life, instead of trying to run away from it.
4. Force yourself to stay involved with the living world. Resist the temptation to withdraw and become reclusive during periods of emotional stress.
5. Refuse to indulge in self-pity when life hands you a raw deal. Accept the fact that no one gets through life without some sorrow and misfortune.
6. Cultivate the old-fashioned virtues—love, humor, compassion and loyalty.
7. Don’t expect too much of yourself. When there is too wide a gap between self-expectation and your ability to meet the goals that you have set, feelings of inadequacy are inevitable.
8. Find something bigger than yourself to believe in. Self-centered, egotistical
people score lowest in any test for measuring happiness.
These are some practical tips for cultivating peace in our lives. Now let’s look to see what the scriptures have to say about the subject.
The Nature of Peace: Phil. 4:6-7, “Be careful (anxious) for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known unto God. And the “peace of God,” which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” It’s the nature of peace to remove worry and anxiety and replace it with an unexplainable calmness.
The Source of Peace: Rom. 5:1, “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ;”God through Jesus is the source of our peace. It is Jesus’ desire that we have peace. 2 Thes. 3:16, “Now the Lord of peace himself give you peace always by all means.” Christ is the Lord of Peace. Christ is the source of peace.
The Channel of Peace: That passage says, “The Lord of peace himself give you peace.” Peace comes through Jesus. He is the channel of peace. Many try to find peace by accumulating wealth, becoming famous, through alcohol/drugs, sexual encounters, etc.
The Duration of Peace: When we experience peace, it often only lasts until the next crisis. Jesus would give us lasting peace. The last part of that verse says, “give you peace always.” The Lord wants us to experience peace even through trials. We will not enjoy the trials, but the trial doesn’t devastate us.
The Secret of Peace: “The Lord of Peace himself give you peace.” Herein lies the secret to happiness. One that is at peace is also one that has found happiness.
The publication, The Personal Journal reported that since the beginning of recorded history, the entire world has been at peace less than 8 % of the time. In its study, the periodical discovered that of 3580 years of recorded history, only 286 years saw peace. Moreover, in excess of 8,000 peace treaties were made and broken. During this time, there have been 14,351 wars in which 3.64 billion people have been killed. The value of property destroyed by these would pay for a golden belt around the world 97.2 miles wide and 33 feet thick. This is the cost of war, but also, this is the cost of the absence of peace.
As we can see, lack of peace is not only stressful and disruptive, but it is also very expensive.
Peace … that unexplainable calmness through tough trials … comes from the Lord of Peace, Jesus, the Christ! One day very soon, He will lead those who have chosen to follow Him into everlasting peace. What a day that will be!