As I started to write this post, I thought about the idea of peace. My mind drifted to images that evoke peace and calm.
For some, it’s a beach somewhere. For others, calm and peace means never leaving their current home. For me, I thought of Germany.
Not just any part of Germany, though. Rather, the German Alps and classic German villages such as Rothenburg ob der Tauber (yes, I’ve been there). Here are some images of Germany that, to me, evoke peace and calm.
What is peace? Peace isn’t the absence of conflict or stress; peace is the ability to handle those things with poise, confidence, and hope.
As I read 1 Peter 3, God taught me about how we can be at peace, even if those around us are not. Here’s the passage:
8 Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind. 9 Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing. 10 For
“Whoever desires to love life
and see good days,
let him keep his tongue from evil
and his lips from speaking deceit;
11 let him turn away from evil and do good;
let him seek peace and pursue it.
12 For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous,
and his ears are open to their prayer.
But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.”
– 1 Peter 3:8-12 (ESV)
In my latest YouTube devotional, I outlined the three steps to finding this peace, and I’d like to summarize them here.
Step 1: Peace with God
In order to have true peace, you need to be at peace with God. In other words, you need to be saved. This is only possible by God’s grace through faith in Jesus alone.
God is holy and perfect. He created us to have a personal relationship with him. However, we all have sinned, breaking that relationship.
The punishment for sin is death. That may seem extreme, but it’s what God declared from the beginning.
God loved the world so much that he sent Jesus to pay the penalty for sin, a penalty we cannot fully pay. Jesus then rose from the grave. As a result, all those who put their faith in Christ alone are saved, restoring the relationship with God.
As we continue to grow closer to God and develop a deeper, more intimate, relationship with him, we are able to move to step 2.
Step 2: Peace with Ourselves
In order to have peace with ourselves, we must have an accurate picture of who we really are. This is only possible through a relationship with God (see step 1).
Each one of us is a fallen, broken, damaged person. We all hurt and are incapable of saving ourselves. Those who are a peace with God also recognize that they are forgiven, restored, and truly loved. They also realize that their character can be transformed more and more into the character of Jesus.
This doesn’t mean turmoil, stress, and conflict never arise again. Rather, it means that when they do, the peace of God that is beyond our understanding gives strength to get through those times.
We now come to step 3.
Step 3: Peace with Others
As God continually improves our character, making it to be more and more like Jesus’, then we can start to have peace with others.
This doesn’t mean we’ll never argue or fight. Rather, it means we’ll be able to love one another and treat each other with selfless love like never before.
God uses the peace we have with him to continually grow our inner peace with ourselves. This peace flows through us and out from us, impacting how we see and treat others, leading to peace with them.
Even if the world shows hate or stirs discord, we can be at peace with those around us because (1) we are at peace with God and (2) we are at peace with ourselves.
Bringing It Home
Finding peace isn’t easy. It’s not something you do once and never do again. Finding peace is a daily journey full of bumps and hurdles, difficulties and trials.
I hope and pray these steps help you with your journey.