It’s not just a Hebrew expression for hello and goodbye. It’s an invitation to know Peace, personally. To be surrounded by peace, right where you are. Complete peace. Absolute peace. Peace in your body. Peace in your relationships. Peace in your finances. Peace in your purpose.
But the true depth of this word is easily lost in our constant craving for feelings of peace.
To be fair, who doesn’t want to feel peace, all the time?!
When we think of it, peace is the embrace of the ocean as the tide washes quietly over your feet. It’s the stillness of an early morning with a yummy cup of coffee, before the world wakes up. It’s a walk in freshly fallen snow. Peace is that moment when you finally close out a big project, knowing it went well. It’s the release that follows an apology between friends.
Whether they represent a release from stress or a moment of reconciliation, feelings of peace play an invaluable role in our human experiences.
But feelings of peace aren’t enough to carry us through all the experiences of being human. We need more. And that’s exactly why Jesus didn’t define His gift of peace by our feelings.
In John 14:27 (MSG), Jesus talks about His peace this way.
I’m leaving you well and whole. That’s my parting gift to you. Peace. I don’t leave you the way you’re used to being left—feeling abandoned, bereft. So don’t be upset. Don’t be distraught.
God’s peace—the shalom-kind-of-peace—is about being well AND whole. Jesus knew what life in the world could be harder for those who chose to follow Him. So He made sure anyone who chooses life with Him gets peace too. What a gift!
Peace is the gift that helps us overcome contrary, confusing and disruptive experiences. It works overtime for you when feelings of anxiety, hurt, offense and discord run rampant. It makes thriving in the midst of unrest possible. And as a believer, you’ve been GIVEN (for free) this divine gift of peace.
Paul explains the “how tos” of God’s peace in Philippians 4:6-9 (TPT).
Don’t be pulled in different directions or worried about a thing. Be saturated in prayer throughout each day, offering your faith-filled requests before God with overflowing gratitude. Tell him every detail of your life, then God’s wonderful peace that transcends human understanding, will make the answers known to you through Jesus Christ. So keep your thoughts continually fixed on all that is authentic and real, honorable and admirable, beautiful and respectful, pure and holy, merciful and kind. And fasten your thoughts on every glorious work of God, praising him always. Follow the example of all that we have imparted to you and the God of peace will be with you in all things.
When you read this passage, you’re reading Paul’s encouragement to people who were living in strained and broken relationships. These issues weren't small, and the pressure was on to get them resolved or risk impacting others and diminishing the overall effectiveness of the church. Paul was reminding the people that there is a better way to live with each other. It’s living in peace, and it’s a practice.
Here are three things you can put into practice right now to help you stop chasing feelings of peace and start living in peace, every day.
When you put these principles into action, it’s an invitation for God's peace to surround you, and for Him to make you well and whole in the midst of that situation. It’s a promise wrapped by God into a beautiful gift you were always meant to open.
In just three simple steps, you can unwrap this gift a little more in your life, every day. Each time you reflect on one of these, you put yourself in a position to live in peace, not anxiety, tension, stress or any other feeling or experience that disrupts your peace.
If you haven’t done it yet, today is the perfect day to unwrap this gift.
We’re praying that as you do, you experience the wholeness of God’s peace in tangible ways.
Until next time, shalom.