John 14:27 (NLT)
“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.”
What is this “peace” Jesus is promising his disciples? How does it differ from peace the world offers?
Because of this peace, Jesus says, we need not be anxious or afraid. His peace, then, is not the absence of anxiety and fear but instead is the reason we can dispense with them. God’s peace is the settled assurance that we are in close relationship with God. Paul tells us Jesus is “our peace” because he makes this reconciliation with God possible.
The world offers peace of a different sort. “Peace” usually implies a standoff between two conflicting entities who agree to withhold hostilities for gain. Whether we speak of warring factions between countries, an office feud, or a falling out between friends, any sort of peace achieved does not eliminate anxiety and fear because human agreements can be broken. When we agree to peace for the sake of something we want, we risk losing it when the peace fails.
Unlike the world’s peace, God’s peace is not something we can achieve by working out compromises or negotiating benefits for each side of a conflict. Like faith, God’s peace is a gift that we cannot achieve but can only receive by surrendering ourselves for God’s gain. The peace Jesus is promising is a spiritual state of rest and confidence in the reliability of our loving Father and his sovereign plan for the world. It is fruit of the Spirit’s work in us as we give over more of our hearts and minds to God’s restorative purpose. God’s is the sort of peace that gives us rest and hope in the midst of an unfaithful world and relationships that are necessarily flawed by sin and selfish desires.
FATHER, I find it difficult to feel at peace when the world around me is so torn by conflict. Teach me about your peace that is beyond my natural experience. Grant me the comfort and assurance of your faithfulness and help me to live your peace into my relationships.
Ephesians 2:14; Philippians 4:7
Where do you need God’s peace in your life?