By Gerard Davis
If you happen to look at any broadcast news report (TV or Radio), or if you just simply glance across your feed on Facebook, it should become obvious to you that something is missing. This generation of Christians have somehow lost something important… in fact, not just something important… something CRITICALLY important! It’s so important that it can be considered even life threatening to lose; yet we’ve lost it! We’ve lost something so vital that we must find and reclaim it immediately or continue to suffer the consequences of it being gone!
This generation of Christians have lost “true” peace! We barely even know what it means anymore because we’ve become so accustomed to the world’s counterfeited definition.
To the world, peace is defined as the absence of conflict. This is the only peace the world understands, thus the only peace we were taught and come to pursue. Christians have learned to only be at peace when our life flows undisturbed… when things are going our way… when we have all the things we want… when we’re not faced with any type of conflict or struggle. To us, that’s what peace means… and unbeknownst to us, its real meaning is gone.
How did we lose it?
Well, by the time most of us were teens, we had already begun our pursuit of this world’s definition of peace; which is to gain peer approval, to seek worldly position and to be free from conflict. But in this world, our ability to provide these things is based solely on the access we have to the things we desire. Those who have what they desire have the ability to gain peer approval, ease the struggle of social and financial conflicts and provide this world’s type of peace for themselves. Those who do not have access to what they desire do not have access to this world’s version of peace or any possessions thereof. In this world, there is no peace without possessing your heart’s desire; even if your heart’s desire IS peace.
Differing levels of education lie at the root of this world’s definition of peace. Education largely determines if and how often we face conflict. Thus, a person with a higher-level education will often generate a large income and, therefore will not feel conflicted by things such as minor fluctuations in gas prices, the rising expense of quality child care or absurdly high college tuitions. However, a person without higher education will generally have a lower income and will therefore see the same dilemmas as major, life-threatening conflicts attacking their well-being and that of their spouse and children as well. Education (specifically in the United States and China) is the key factor in every person’s ability to provide peace as this world defines it for themselves and all those connected to them.
This world’s version of peace creates two categories of people, the “have’s” and the “have not’s“. The former category has access to the only peace this world knows; while the latter is trapped in a prison with little-to-no peace (often literally)… only more situations involving conflicts similar to those mentioned above. It’s no mystery that many of the “have not’s” become desperate to be free of conflict, even if for just a little while. And it’s no mystery that many of the “have not’s” are struggling to somehow move from their world as a “have not” to the other side of the fence where the evenly manicured, perfectly edged, well-watered grass is much, much greener (often literally).
The sad part is both worlds are temporary because they’re both based on “present condition” and circumstances of life will rarely permit this world’s concept of peace to exist for very long. “Present condition”, whether positive or negative, will always be completely temporary and this world’s version of peace, and always a complete facade! The facade was designed by a spirit who is the enemy of God… he designed it with one intension in mind: To force you to utter the most terrible phrase a Christian can ever say:
“I’ll do anything to be free… “
Once you have reached this point, nothing is beyond consideration to achieve what would supposedly bring peace. It’s at this point that a young black teenager will kill another young black teenager in his own pursuit of this world’s version of peace. It’s at this point that a husband will divorce his spouse and marry his work (or his co-worker) with the diluted intension of making life “better” searching for what this world has defined as peace. It’s at this point that people will drink alcohol or inhale chemical substances if for nothing else, to artificially acquire a taste of this world’s version of peace. And it is at this point that Christians will falsify tax statements, make purchases they can’t afford, embezzle company funds… even embezzle church funds for a grasp of this world’s version of peace.
All of this because we have lost the true meaning of peace… That’s why a family of 5 will spend their last dollars on Lotto; why men and women sacrifice irreplaceable family time at work doing overtime; why people will sell their souls (often literally) dying to get their hands on some of what the world has as a substitute for peace.
But it’s time to reject this faulty substitute and get OUR peace back! The fact is “true” peace is not gone… it’s only misplaced; meaning, it still exists and can easily be found. To find it, you must really understand what Jesus is saying in this verse:
“PEACE I leave with you… MY PEACE I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives…
Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” John 14:27
Where is true peace? TRUE PEACE IS IN CHRIST! Jesus said, “MY peace I give to you”. Notice Jesus made no mention of conflict or circumstances. He made no mention of peer approval or position. Nothing about financial security. Nothing about higher education. Yet, Jesus said I’m leaving MY Peace with you.
Then, Jesus explained that His peace is real… it’s not the facade that the world offers. It’s not artificial, it’s not superficial, it’s not circumstantial and it’s definitely not temporary. The peace Jesus gives is UNCONDITIONAL and EVERLASTING; just as his love is unconditional and everlasting. Jesus said that with His peace, your heart will never again NEED to be troubled or afraid.
The peace that Jesus gave us is referred to again in John 16:33:
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have PEACE…
In this world you will have trouble. But take heart (KJV – cheer up)! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33
Jesus said in this world any sense of peace we achieve on our own is temporary and will ultimately turn to tribulation. But in HIM, we have a source of peace that will overcome the tribulation of this world! In other words, the world’s method of seeking an absence of conflict is a faulty pacifier for the peace in Jesus that exists even in the midst of conflict.
So… Here’s how to have “true” peace. Follow these instructions concerning Jesus given by his disciple Peter years after Jesus’ death and resurrection:
“Cast all your cares on him because he cares for you… ” 1 Peter 5:7
Abandon this world’s version of peace which you have come to understand! Searching for peace through “no opposition” is faulty. There will not be a complete absence of conflict in this world until Jesus comes back to reign as King! Instead, seek to obtain the peace that Christ gave which surpasses understanding. Just cast your worries on Christ the way a fisherman casts a net into deep water! Throw your anxieties on him… because he cares about you enough to catch them!
Don’t allow your circumstances and your desires to determine your definition of peace. Regain the peace that you’ve lost! Find peace in Christ and then you’ve found peace that will last!