Who doesn’t want peace? Can you imagine a world with the absence of war, trouble, worries, and annoyances? It’s tough because it seems there is always something or some one looking to steal our peace. Psalm 34:14 (NIV) says, “Turn from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it.” Perhaps we will never see peace for the entire world, but we can seek and pursue our own peace.
I want to lay a foundation for peace from the Bible and then we will talk about how we can have peace. It’s not just handed to us. It’s an active pursuit, but as we will see, it’s worth it.
Definition of Peace in the Bible
The Hebrew word is shalom which means “to be complete” or “to be sound.” Shalom is a verb in how one lives, a noun when pronouncing blessing on another, and an adjective when describing something complete. It’s very contradictory to our current day usage which is typically a noun and more of a passive state of being with no type of disturbance. (Baker’s Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology)
God alone is the source of peace. The Lord came to His rebellious creation, first to the Jews and then to all mankind, desiring to covenant peace. He confirmed it with the Jews, which was sealed with his presence (Numbers 6:24-26 ). His chosen people were given perfect peace so long as they maintained a right relationship with the Lord (Deuteronomy 28).
The Old Testament prophesied, and the New Testament settled, that God’s peace would be delivered through a Savior (Isaiah 9:6-7).
In the New Testament, the Greek word eirene is the word used most often when we read “peace.” It did not change from the Old Testament as true peace still meant the presence of God. The coming of Christ is a declaration of peace from God to men (Luke 2:14). We gain “peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,” through salvation (Romans 5:1) .
Peace is a fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22) and an encouraged attribute in healthy relationships . Jesus commanded the disciples, “Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace one with another” (Mark 9:50) and before leaving earth, He promised to leave His peace (John 14:27). Paul says, “be eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” (Ephesians 4:1-3).
How to Seek and Pursue Peace
It’s kind of ironic to say that we have to fight for peace, but it’s true. The battle ground is in our hearts and minds where we have to strive to believe and trust God’s word over Satan’s lies, current circumstances, and our own feelings.
The words we see when describing peace in the Bible are not passive. They are very active; pursue, seek, strive, run after, maintain. This means we have a responsibility for our peace. We can’t just expect it to be handed to us. We have to vigorously go after it.
How do we do that?
First, we have to know that we can’t do it on our own. We established that peace is found only in God so we need His presence, the Holy Spirit, to have true peace. If you have been saved by faith in Jesus Christ, peace is yours for the taking. If you have not, today you can be saved. His peace is worth laying down your life.
Second, as a believer, we have to abide in Christ. The active part for us is staying close to Him by whatever means necessary. We have to daily choose to read God’s word, meditate on it, and follow it. We must pray for God to give us the energy and passion to pursue peace. And, finally, we have to fill our minds and hearts with positive thoughts that encourage peace.
Third, we have to be peacemakers. In our homes, families, work, and church, we have to be the voice of love and truth that promotes peace for others. Jesus said, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.” (Matthew 5:9 ESV) It’s not always popular or easy.
We have to be willing to swallow our pride at times. We have to pray for the enemy and love those who hate us. We have to tell the truth of God’s word in love to others when they are gossiping, angry, or contrary.
Last, we can focus on eternity. The good news is that as Christians, we can some day look forward to perfect peace realized. When we leave this world and enter eternity, we will forever be in the presence of the Prince of Peace. We will no long strive or fight for it. We will be complete and peace will be perfect and realized.
Revelation 21:3-4 ESV promises, “And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”
Get Rid of Anything that Might Steal Your Peace
We have to get rid of anything that does not promote peace. I know what you are thinking Mom, how do I get rid of these kids? LOL. We cannot control the actions of others or the circumstances around us. However, we can purge our lives of lots of things that are fighting against peace.
Things that might steal our peace:
Tangible items: social media, tv movies or shows, drugs or alcohol, books or magazines, material possessions, or credit cards.
Behaviors: Criticism or negative talk, hanging around angry or hurtful people, looking to compare ourselves with others, neglecting God’s word or the body of Christ, or entitlement.
Note: Some of these things you may not choose to (or can’t) be rid of completely. You can consider a fast from them for a certain amount of time or a cut back or change in their usage.
We can replace most of these things with time in the word where we learn truth to battle against whatever is trying to steal our peace.
Bible Verses to Seek and Pursue Peace
These Bible verses show us how to daily seek and pursue peace in our lives.
- You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you. Isaiah 26:3 ESV
- A greedy man stirs up strife, but the one who trusts in the Lord will be enriched. Proverbs 28:25 ESV
- Whoever desires to love life and see good days, let him keep his tongue from evil and his lips from speaking deceit; let him turn away from evil and do good; let him seek peace and pursue it. 1 Peter 3:10-11 ESV
- For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. Romans 8:5-6 ESV
- So then let us pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding. Romans 14:19 ESV
- Finally, brothers, rejoice. Aim for restoration, comfort one another, agree with one another, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you. 2 Corinthians 13:11 ESV
- Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:5-7 ESV
- Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. John 14:27 ESV
Things that Promote Peace
I felt like since we spent some time focusing on things that don’t promote peace that it might be helpful to give a list of things that do promote peace in our lives.
Spiritual: Memorizing scripture, repenting of sin, being thankful, listening to worship music and reading a Christian book.
Physical: Rest, sleep, eating healthy, walks in nature, exercise, and hanging out with encouraging friends.
Mental: Sharing struggles with a friend you trust, sitting alone in silence and without distractions for a chunk of time each day, make a list of blessings, and replacing negative thoughts with truth from God’s word.
Lord, give peace to all who seek and pursue it with a pure heart. Grant them that they may know peace of your presence and trust in you for the present and future. We know only in You is found perfect peace and look forward to future complete peace in eternity. Keep us focused on Your word of truth. Forgive us when we get distracted by things that steal our peace. Amen.