In the early 1980’s, a retired couple was alarmed by the threat of nuclear war so they undertook a serious study of all the inhabited places on the globe. Their goal was to determine where in the world would be the place to be least likely affected by a nuclear war. A place of ultimate security.
They studied, researched and traveled. Finally, they found the place. And on Christmas day they sent their preacher a card from their new home–in the Falkland Islands. However, their “paradise” was soon turned into a war zone in 1982 with the war between Great Britain and Argentina.
Not much has changed in the past four decades. Or for that matter in the history of the world. People desire peace. They seek peace. They pursue peace. Whether it is peace in terms of physical safety, peace in interpersonal relationships, or personal peace of mind.
Yet when we look at the world in which we live with turmoil at home and abroad, we do not have peace. In the midst of a continued war against terror and attacks on our soldiers in Afghanistan, we pray for peace. When we see on the local news images of violence in our own communities, we yearn for peace. When we hear of another school shooting and see the fear on children’s faces, we long for peace. When anger and animosity tears apart our homes and relationships, our hearts ache for peace.
When Jesus was born, an angel appeared to the Shepherds to announce it, and the heavenly host first sang these words, as recorded in Luke 2:14, “Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!”
And yet in the ensuing 2000 years, people are still seeking peace as one of life’s elusive goals.
What’s the problem? Why can’t we have that which seemingly we all desire?
Vance Havner pointedly expressed it this way, “Men do not have peace in the world nor in their hearts because they do not have peace with God. Nothing is settled until it is settled right. And nothing is settled right until it is settled with God.”
In other words, for us to have peace externally, we must first possess it internally. And to have peace internally, we must experience peace spiritually. Sadly our secular society does not seek the “God of peace” and His Son, the “Prince of Peace.”
Men have tried to find peace through the pursuit of knowledge, pleasure or wealth. Others have thought the answers could be obtained through technology or scientific advancement. Yet in our affluent and efficient society, the problem of sin and guilt is greater than ever. Some have even sought peace through artificial stimulants and depressants to eliminate the pressures under which they live. But when the effects of pills, drugs, and alcohol wear off, the problems are still present—cold, hard and stubborn.
Peace of mind is the fruit of restoration. Modern man scoffs at “guilt feelings.” But people have more than guilt feelings, They have guilt. And guilt is the result of sin. Jesus said the Holy Spirit would “convict the world of sin, righteousness, and judgment (Jn. 16:8). And He did so through the Word. And so Paul could affirm, “Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ (Rom. 5:1).
Peace of mind is the fruit of responsibility. Escapism has never worked. To deny responsibility is to die. To flee is to fail. Peace of mind comes from responsible thoughts, goals, and deeds. “The fruit of the Spirit is peace” (Gal. 5:22).
Peace of mind is the fruit of righteousness. James said, “the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those that make peace’’ (3:18). Right living comes first. Then peace. While the world wants peace, it doesn’t want to pay the price.
Jesus said, ““Peace I leave with you. My peace I give unto you; not as the world gives do I give to you” (Jn. 14:27). Jesus can provide peace. We may not have world peace, because the world will never know Jesus, but you can enjoy peace in your world. In your heart. And in your soul.
“Seek peace and pursue it” (I Pet. 3:11).
—Ken Weliever, The Preacherman