Peace can be hard-won when you struggle with anxiety like I do—like many people do. Yet that abundant, deep peace is something God wants for each of us. Something He is willing to lead us into. Something everyone can have if they’re willing to put forth the time and effort and set up the boundaries that invite peace rather than stress into their lives.
I’ve been learning methods of God-focused meditation to combat my anxiety—ways of tackling problem areas, particularly obsessive recurring thoughts, by leading them captive to Christ and submersing them in peace. For me, this peace comes from slowing down, reciting Scripture, dwelling on positive experiences and then slowly going back to tackle the thought at hand with my hand firmly in God’s.
If you struggle with being peaceful, know that you are not alone. This is not abnormal, even among Christians. There are different ways of achieving peace. And I hope that this blog will help you on the road to finding the way that works for you.
What is Peace?
Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines peace as “freedom from disquieting or oppressive thoughts or emotions.” There is also the peace that is a state of tranquility within a person, or of harmony or mutual concord between different factions.
The Bible speaks of different kinds of peace and the different ways we reach them. A peaceful and peaceable life is something God desires for all mankind, and it is something most people strive for in numerous ways—from healthy ones like ridding ourselves of toxic influences and living a life of gratitude, to unhealthy ones like conflict avoidance or even by oppression or control of dissenting points of view. But ultimate tranquility, concordance, and freedom from disquieting or oppressive thoughts or emotions can only be attained through Jesus Christ.
What Does the Bible Say About Peace?
Colossians 3:15 – Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.
Hebrews 12:14 – Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord.
Philippians 4:7 – And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Psalms 29:11 – The LORD gives strength to his people; the LORD blesses his people with peace.
How Can I Be More Peaceful?
Scripture makes it clear on many occasions that having simple human “peace” is not enough to lift the burden of trouble from our shoulders. We need a heavenly peace that passes understanding in order to experience true soul-rest in contentment and security regardless of life’s shortcomings.
Becoming more truly, richly, and enduringly peaceful only comes through relationship with Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace.
Before Jesus ascended to the Father’s right hand, one of the last things he gave his followers was peace. In fact, he emphasized that he was leaving his peace with them, and not as the world gives it (John 14:27). Specifically through our union with Christ, we will have peace that passes understanding (Phil. 4:7). When the Book of Isaiah listed the attributes of the then-future Messiah, one of them was that he would be the prince of peace (Isaiah 9:6). The braiding together of perfect peace and the presence of Christ has quite literally been a highlight of his very existence since the angel first announced his birth to the shepherds in Luke 2!
This aspect of Jesus’ purpose and character is driven home again in Ephesians 2, where emphasis is placed on Jesus Christ as our peace. The sense of unity in the spirit and peace among Christians comes through Jesus and not by our own sense of things.
We are incapable of experiencing true peace personally or interpersonally if it does not come through Christ—his teachings, his dealings, and how he works with us all.
Jesus brought a new sense of peace to the world. He died on the cross, opening a path to perfect peace in union with him, and through him, with the Father. He also encourages his followers to live peaceably among others as much as they can, even going so far as to love their enemies and pray for those who persecute them! Even in times of distress, doubt, persecution and struggle, we can still be peaceful when our trust is firmly placed in Christ and in God.
So when you’re feeling troubled, particularly if you are living in a state of contention with a fellow believer, ask yourself whose peace you’re relying on: your own, or the peace of Christ? Are you upholding him as your peace, or striving for a personal sense of solace and unity that comes through the human perspective—the peace the world tries to offer?
Jesus gave us many examples in his teachings of how to live peaceably with one another despite our differences, as well as with those currently outside the Body of Christ. He also speaks with us through the holy spirit dwelling in us. He can and will show you the path to peace through him—who is himself our peace.
What is an area of your life where you could use more peace? Lift it up in prayer to Jesus today and trust in him to help you find a way through, as he has promised!