The idea of peace dominates the Bible. There are approximately 400 references to peace yet we see little peace in the world. The world we live in is crying out for peace! Peace in the Middle East, peace in Africa, and peace in Korea are just a few of the hot spots where real lasting peace has not been achieved. The world’s peacemakers have a terrible record. We do not have economic peace, social peace, religious peace, political or domestic peace in the world around us. There is a lack of peace everywhere you look.
People seem to have no ability to get along with each other. Every relationship is very fragile. All around us we see people with mental and emotional illnesses like never before. Family violence and breakups are at an all time high. Because man has not achieved personal peace his world has become a reflection of that lack of inner peace with God.
Certainly though, the same can’t be said of the Church of Jesus Christ, or can it? Is there peace in your personal relationship with God? Are you at peace with God as Psalm 119:165 promises? “Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them.” Are you at peace with your spouse and children? Are there any relationships where you do not have peace, where you have not let go of a hurt or grudge or where you have been offended and not let go by forgiving those who wronged you? Really forgiven them, not just say the right words to make yourself look righteous, while deep within your heart you have a little bad taste that has begun to form a bitterness that stops your true spiritual peace. It is absolutely imperative to our spiritual survival and future that we pursue peace with God and man with all our might. Hebrews 12:14 instructs us to follow or pursue peace with all men and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord. That is a very sobering statement when you consider what a life without peace will bring. Everyone who calls themselves a Christian must seek peace within every relationship in order to grow and develop Godly character. If we do not we will by our own stubborn disobedience stop our spiritual progress.
The kind of peace God desires is not simply the absence of conflict or strife. It is that plus the presence of righteousness that causes right relationships. The fruit of God’s Holy Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness and self control. True biblical peace is not just stopping war conflict and strife, it is creating righteousness and forgiveness that brings enemies together in love. James 3:17 tells us, “But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable.” Real peace always produces righteousness in relationships. Peace is not achieved between two people unless they have seen and acknowledged the error, the sin, and the wrongness of the bitterness and hatred and bad feelings and have made the decision to bring it before God and make it right. Real peace is not just a truce, a cease-fire, a cold war or a time to reload.
If two people are fighting it is the result of sin. Eliminate the sin and peace is restored. If we have righteousness, purity and holiness in our lives peace will be a by product. If we have righteousness, purity, and holiness in our marriage, home, and church peace will be restored. Sometimes though people may not go along with our attempts at peace. That does not change our responsibility to make the effort and follow Jesus’ own words in Mark 9:50, “Be at peace with one another.”
Often ignored but just as critical in your spiritual walk is applying these words to the relationship between you and your spouse. Your spiritual growth will go nowhere if you do not straighten things out with your wife or husband at home. If you don’t, according to I Peter 3:7, “Yourprayersaregoingtobehindered!” You will not have a right relationship with our Eternal Creator period.
According to Matthew 5:23,24 God does not want his people coming to church and worshipping Him if they have not made every effort to be reconciled unto their brother. Further along in Matthew 5 Jesus commands us to love even our enemies, bless them that curse us, do good to them that hate us, and pray for those who despitefully use us and persecute us. We show our Heavenly Father that we are his children if we are peacemakers, even with our enemies. In Matthew 5:9 we are promised that peacemakers will be happy and blessed for they shall be called the sons of God. Sometimes it will cost a lot, and sometimes we can only do our part whether others want to obey God or not. Paul told us in Romans 12:18, “If possible as far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men.” We should all be striving to be peacemakers especially within the Church of Jesus Christ. Maybe it will cost you something and maybe you will have to suffer some, but that is what a peacemaker does. That is what Jesus lived His life for, and He is our example to follow. God’s word shows us the key to perfect peace and growth in Philippians 4:6-8, and Isaiah 26:3.