Our world today is anything but peaceful. Many people are driven by fear, angry about the events of our world, protesting the injustices of racism or refugees, preparing for war, and even fighting a war of words within our country. As we prepare to celebrate the coming of the Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6), we are anything but peaceful.
Jesus said to His followers on the night He was betrayed and eventually crucified, “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” (John 14:27).
Jesus gives His peace to us today as an inheritance that will secure our composure and dissolve our fears (Philippians 4:7). It’s His peace that controls our hearts (Colossians 3:12-15). For “God has not given us a spirit of fearfulness, but one of power, love, and sound judgement” (2 Timothy 1:7). Jesus gives us His peace as we walk with Him by faith (2 Corinthians 5:7) rather than be stirred up by earthly fears.
Jesus, Himself, felt troubled by His impending crucifixion (John 12:27), yet still trusted His Heavenly Father’s will to be done (Matthew 26:39,42). So, the peace that Jesus gives is not an exemption from conflicts and difficulties; it’s a part of taking up our cross to follow Him (Luke 9:23-24). Resting in His peace is not an escape from reality nor is it an excuse for passivity. In fact, His peace is anything but passive — it must be actively pursued because it doesn’t come naturally (Psalm 34:14; Romans 14:19; Hebrews 12:14).
Peace will not come if we speak in words that inflame arguments or in ways that antagonize other people (1 Timothy 5:1–2; 2 Timothy 2:14, 24–26). We should be quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to become angry (James 1:19) and even slower to post or comment on social media. The things that make for peace are refraining from verbal criticism and resisting cynical thinking by leaning on Jesus through dependent prayer (John 15:4, Galatians 5:22-23). We need to live peaceably with all people as much as we can (Matthew 5:9; Mark 9:50; Romans 12:18) because peaceful interpersonal relationships (including those on social media) produce godliness (James 3:18). When Peter rashly took matters into his own hands, Jesus admonished him to submit to the sovereignty of God (Matthew 26:52-54) because man’s anger does not accomplish God’s righteousness (James 1:20).