What is peace?
Oxford dictionary defines peace as freedom from disturbance; tranquility and a state or period in which there is no war or a war has ended.
According to www.encyclopedia.com, spiritual peace “includes notions of totality or completeness, success, fulfillment, wholeness, harmony, security and well-being.”
According to www.biblestudytools.com, the biblical concept of peace is “larger than [the English definition of peace] and rests heavily on the Hebrew root slm, which means ‘to be complete’ or ‘to be sound.’ The verb conveys both a dynamic and a static meaning ‘to be complete or whole’ or ‘to live well.’”
According to www.biblestudytools.com, peace, or salom, can be grouped into four categories:
To those with whom God establishes a covenant of perfect peace, it is ensured by His presence. We see this in my motto verse, Isaiah 26:3, “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on thee, because he trusteth thee.” As long as we trust God and keep our minds fixed on Him, we enjoy perfect peace, no matter what is going on around us. It’s an internal anchor that steadies us in difficult times.
God gave me this verse during a very difficult time in my life, and it has strengthened and re-centered me countless times. For years, I have had a sign in my kitchen that defines peace (shalom) as “complete fulfillment as a result of God’s presence.”
In Pursuit of Peace
We cannot have complete fulfillment without God’s direction and blessing.
We can run here and there, accomplish this and that, get all kinds of awards, degrees, and certifications, and rise to the top of our field and still not be fulfilled.
Look at Hollywood for worldly success without peace. Billionaires and beloved stars commit suicide as often as do regular people.
They also struggle as much with addictions of all kinds, just as the rest of us.
We all try to fill the inborn void with what we think will make us happy, but we are never fulfilled without God’s presence.
Some people chase success to finally obtain it and find they still feel unfulfilled.
I believe God defines success as peace, or shalom: our complete fulfillment as a result of His presence.
This means an intimate relationship seeking God above all else. It means a life in which prayer is a way of life as much as breathing. Not just talking to God but also listening, seeking His wisdom for every decision we will encounter. It includes interceding for others continuously. It means thanking God and asking Him to open our eyes to see the blessings we have taken for granted. It is constant communion and communication with God. The result is a life of peace and fulfillment in which God is honored above all.
What if we believe in and trust God and try to follow His leading but still feel unfulfilled, numb, struggle with addiction, or still sometimes contemplate suicide?
We live in an imperfect world full of imperfect people. It’s easiest to think of it this way: everything and everyone here is messed up. We all suffer, we all get it wrong sometimes, and we all struggle.
So what’s the difference?
The difference is the anchor and lifeboat that is the close intimacy with our Maker, God. Satan attacks every person. He is no respecter of persons, and seeks to kill, steal, and destroy as much as possible because he hates God. He attacks individuals, families, churches, institutions, governments, and more. There is no one or nothing satan doesn’t attempt to intrude and apply his thumbprint.
Turn the Table on Satan
We are empowered to accept that we are attacked, then recognize where and how satan is attacking us. We already know the basic why—because He hates God. Recognizing where we are weak enables us to strengthen that area. But beware if you are confident of your strength in an area; it is likely that there is a weakness of which you aren’t aware, and satan will sneak in to destroy you in that very area of life.
One example of how to turn the table on satan is if you have a momentary sexual impulse not toward your spouse, you know that you need to strengthen your love and commitment toward your spouse. This in turn will strengthen your marriage. How to do this is to pray for your marriage, your spouse, and your affection and commitment to your spouse. You also must walk away from the temptation, taking every thought captive under the authority of Jesus Christ, and remind yourself of your spouse’s qualities that attracted you to him or her. You can also recognize if there’s been a lack of affection and connection between you and your spouse, and then have a spontaneous or planned time of intimacy to rekindle those sparks.
If we don’t recognize the attack and render it useless, it causes division within us and separates us from peace.
The Mind Is a Battlefield
It’s important to guard our minds. That is why we must recognize and remove impure thoughts as soon as they come.
Satan attacks our minds in more ways than just temptations. He attacks with vanity, pride, fears, and insecurities. He wants to steal our focus from God so he can inflate our pride or deflate our joy. He knows that either way leaves us weak and not focused on God. His goal is to distract and deceive us.
We cannot win someone else’s battle for them, but we can be there for them with Godly support and unconditional love, and we are to intercede on their behalf. And we can recognize satan’s attacks on us as we are close to this person.
I remember a long season when Satan was attacking my daughter in many ways. The battle was spiritual and also mental, emotional, and physical, but the decisive movements occurred in her mind. Satan tried hard to distract my prayers and vigilant parenting by attacking me also spiritually, mentally, emotionally, and physically. He threw every fiery dart he could find to sling our way. I know God created my daughter with specific qualities to serve His purpose, and satan has attacked those same qualities all her life to oppress her and prevent God’s will from being done.
Our Power to Have Peace
We have an important role in whether or not God’s will is accomplished on earth. When we are oppressed by satan’s attacks, we aren’t able to know, much less pursue, God’s purpose for our lives.
We are in control of our own peace. No matter satan’s attacks, we have an invitation from God to have a close relationship with Him through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. We then have His Holy Spirit within us to strengthen our resolve when our flesh is weak. And we have the mind-blowing opportunity to communicate directly with God, with no in-between. When Christ rent the veil, He made one-to-one communication with God our privilege and responsibility in order for us to live fulfilled lives, full of peace as a result of God’s presence.
If you lack peace or fulfillment, seek God continually. He doesn’t withhold peace from those who are near to Him. Just keep seeking God continually, no giving up and no turning back. A close relationship with God and dependence on Him is all it takes. The flesh is weak, but the Holy Spirit within one who believes and trusts God and knows Jesus Christ as the only mediator for sin, is strong. When we are weak and rely on Him, God’s strength in our life shines through and gives us the victory of peace in Him.
More on peace next week, but for now, here is an extensive list of bible verses and passages about peace:
Proverbs 3:13-18, 24
Jeremiah 29:7, 11-14
1 Corinthians 13:11
1 Corinthians 14:33
1 Thessalonians 5:3
1 Thessalonians 5:23
1 Thessalonians 5:15
2 Thessalonians 3:16
1 Timothy 2:1-2
2 Timothy 1:7
2 Timothy 2:22
1 Peter 1:2
1 Peter 3:9-11
1 Peter 5:6-7
2 John 3