In previous blogs I have covered the top ten teachings according to the frequency with which Christ taught (seen on page 133 of the download ‘What on earth have we done with the teachings of Jesus’). Continuing now with Christ’s additional teachings. The next of which is ‘Be in peace’.
Peace – just saying that word brings internal ease. It brings visions of trickling streams on warm days with an expanse of fields and butterflies gently lifting their wings upon a cooling breeze. To be in peace requires a mental and emotional detachment from the chaos of the world around us.
Today our minds are bombarded with an information overload. With the explosion of the internet, 24-hour streaming and smartphones we now receive more than five times as much information in a day than we did in 1986. Added to this is the growth of the amount of information we discharge through email, instant messaging and social media. The average person produces six entire newspapers worth of information a day. A 200-fold increase from 24 years ago.
What has happened to our peace of mind in all this? Peace of mind is described by Collins as ‘an absence of mental stress or anxiety, to be without worry or disturbance, calm’. We seem to have more mental stress than ever before.
There may be many quick-fix ideas for ‘peace of mind’ out in the world. Therapists may recommend deep breathing, getting exercise and sunlight, doing what you love, being generous, being grateful etc. and whilst all this may be good. It doesn’t bring the long-lasting peace we all crave.
Jesus said, ‘Peace I leave with you; My [perfect] peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be afraid. [Let My perfect peace calm you in every circumstance and give you courage and strength for every challenge.],’ John 14:27
How reassuring that He does not give peace as the world gives it. For that would be fleeting. No, Jesus gives a peace that is far greater than that, surpassing even our understanding. Philippians 4:7 says, ‘And the peace of God [that peace which reassures the heart] which transcends all understanding, stands guard over your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.’
Come to Me
Jesus stands before us with a relentless offer “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavily burdened [by religious rituals that provide no peace], and I will give you rest [refreshing your souls with salvation].” Matthew 11:28
How might we continually walk in this peace? In Eph 2:14 it says that Jesus, Himself is our peace. This means we must receive Him into our hearts and minds. We must welcome Him into our lives and into our day. Colossians 1:20 says that He makes peace [with believers] through His blood. His died on the cross to bring us this peace.
We are given an additional clue in Philippians 4:8 with an appeal, ‘whatever is true, whatever is honorable and worthy of respect, whatever is right and confirmed by God’s word, whatever is pure and wholesome, whatever is lovely and brings peace, whatever is admirable and of good repute; if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think continually on these things [center your mind on them, and implant them in your heart].
Where do we allow our minds to go?
It is where we allow our minds to go. Can our minds think on things that are pure and wholesome if we are constantly bombarded with the negativity that comes from our screens? I have actually started to feel a huge wave of liberation when I turn my phone off. That little 6 by 3 inch device, ceases to be a control centre. I am dedicating more of my time to simply ‘wait’ on God and read His Word and pray. It is a life-changing phenomena. It brings a sublime peace to my heart and mind.
When we are in a place of peace and the Prince of Peace dwells within us, we are able to pass this blessing of peace onto others. If a household is worthy [welcoming you and your message], give it your [blessing of] peace [that is, a blessing of well-being and prosperity, the favour of God], Matthew 10:13. To give a blessing is powerful, a custom that for the most part has been lost in our day.
Under the influence of His peace
Henry says – That they should be under the influence of His peace (John 14:27): Peace I leave with you. When Christ was about to leave the world He made His will. His soul He committed to His Father, His body He gave to Joseph, to be decently interred, His clothes fell to the soldiers, His mother He left to the care of John. But what should He leave to His poor disciples? Silver and gold He had none; but He left them that which was infinitely better, His peace. “I leave you, but I leave My peace with you. I put you in possession of it.” Just as a dying father leaves portions to his children; this is a worthy portion.
The legacy that is here bequeathed: Peace, My peace. Christ has left us all needful good and all that is really and truly good. Peace for reconciliation and love. Peace with God, peace with one another. A tranquility of mind arising from a sense of our justification before God. It is the composure of our minds. The peace He purchased for us and preached to us, and on which the angels congratulated men at his birth, Luke 2:14.
This legacy is bestowed on His disciples and followers, that will be exposed to trouble, and have need of peace. It is given to the sons of peace left to them and their successors, to them and all true Christians throughout all ages.
Not as the world gives
‘Not as the world gives’ – The peace He gives is of such a nature that the smiles of the world cannot give it, nor the frowns of the world take it away. The gifts He gives are not such as this world gives to its children. The world’s gifts concern only the body and time. Christ’s gifts enrich the soul for eternity. The world gives lying vanities, and that which will cheat us. Christ gives substantial blessings, which will never fail us. The world gives and takes. Christ gives a good part that shall never be taken away. The peace which Christ gives is infinitely more valuable than that which the world gives.
What use they should make of it: Let not your heart be troubled, for any evils past or present, neither let it be afraid of any evil to come. Those that are interested in the covenant of grace, and entitled to the peace which Christ gives, ought not to yield to overwhelming griefs and fears. This comes in here as the conclusion of the whole matter.
Adapted from the Matthew Henry Commentary
Peace of heart You will keep in perfect and constant peace the one whose mind is steadfast on You. Because he trusts and takes refuge in You, Isa 26:3 O my Master, where is the peace? That abiding peace, deep peace for the soul That looks to You For all things You control. O my Father, I know my sins Are taken away But there are so many cares That litters my day. So many great and little sorrows In this daily life of mine! My Father have you such a blessing For this waiting heart that pines? Is there such a blessing for your child? Then the words ring out fresh and new; You will keep him in perfect peace Him whose mind is stayed on You. When I wholly trust in You Father can it be That there is a perfect peace A perfect peace for me? This is exactly what I am wanting My cares form a large list Let me have that perfect peace Because of it You have promised. Dear child of God You are bearing your own care And feeling so heavy and so grievous Do you think I am unaware? Will you take a promise and a gift For I truly understand That peace which comes so beautifully From God’s Almighty hand. By the late Andrew Feakin (passed away 16th March 2019)
Prayer: Father, I lay my burdens at Your feet. I thank You for Your great peace. That peace that surpasses my understanding. Teach me to abide in that peace always. In the name of Christ I pray. Amen.