We live in a world that seems a bit more devoid of peace every day. When you turn on the news, scroll through your social media feed, or take in any sort of outside information, it becomes even more evident that our world is lacking peace. When you combine the external factors that rob us of our peace with the personal problems that we’re all facing, the importance of choosing peace cannot be overstated.
In the fourth chapter of Saint Mark’s Gospel account, we read a story about Jesus and the disciples crossing the Sea of Galilee. While the disciples were trying to control the ship, Jesus was asleep in the back part of the ship, lying on a pillow. A storm rose up, and the disciples were convinced that they were going to drown. Keep in mind, these men had seen storms before. While the disciples came from different vocational backgrounds, the most common occupation before their conversion was fishing. Peter, James, and John had all encountered storms before. However, even they were afraid that this one was going to be the last one that they would face.
They rushed into the part of the ship where Jesus was sleeping and asked Him, “Don’t you care that we’re about to die?!” (Mark 4:38). Jesus walked up to the front of the ship and said, “Peace, be still.” Suddenly, the waves stopped rolling and the wind stopped howling. Jesus asked the disciples why they were so afraid.
Shouldn’t the answer to that question have been obvious? They had just faced a storm that caused them to believe that they were about to drown. Christ wasn’t doubting the size of the storm. Instead, he was questioning the size of their faith.
It was no mistake that Christ’s first word when speaking to the storm was “peace.” It’s because He wanted the disciples to experience the same kind of peace that He had. Doesn’t that sound incredible? Christ wanted His disciples, and in turn wants us, to experience the same level of peace that He has.
Why wasn’t Christ scared of the storm? Because He had the peace of knowing that the storm wasn’t going to cost any of them their lives. That’s the kind of peace He wants us to have.
How are you supposed to experience that kind of peace when everything is going wrong? How do you experience that kind of peace while you’re sitting in a waiting area outside of the hospital’s ICU unit? How do you find that kind of peace when the doctor tells you that the lab results indicate that it’s cancer? How do you experience God’s peace when your marriage is struggling, your money is dwindling, and everything in the world is coming against you? Sometimes you have to make the decision to choose peace.
Choosing Peace in Relationships
Romans 12:17-18 (TPT)
Never hold a grudge or try to get even, but plan your life around the noblest way to benefit others. Do your best to live as everybody’s friend.
One of the most important areas to choose peace is in your relationships with other people. Peace doesn’t just happen in relationships. After all, both you and the other person have your own desires, needs, and expectations. When any of those things aren’t met, the potential for conflict is there. However, that’s why it’s important to choose peace.
In the verses that we just read to the Roman Church, Paul said that you should do your best to live as a friend to everyone around you. That means that we’re not called to walk away from relationships when things get messy. Instead, we’re called to do everything within our power to rebuild and restore those relationships.
If you have some fractured relationships in your life, make some decisions today that will help you work towards peace. Start by resolving to not procrastinate. It’s easy to say that you’re going to reach out to the other person tomorrow, but if you take that approach, you’re likely to say the same thing tomorrow. Consider some specific steps that you could take today to choose peace in a relationship, and then take them.
Choosing Peace in the Hard Times
Philippians 4:6-7 (TPT)
Don’t be pulled in different directions or worried about a thing. Be saturated in prayer throughout each day, offering your faith-filled requests before God with overflowing gratitude. Tell him every detail of your life, then God’s wonderful peace that transcends human understanding, will make the answers known to you through Jesus Christ.
It’s easy to think about the idea of choosing peace during the hard times in life and say, “If I could choose peace, I would.” According to this passage, you can! No, it won’t be easy. No, peace doesn’t come naturally. However, when you follow this two-step process that Paul outlined, you can choose peace, no matter hard doing so may seem.
Paul’s first command in this passage was to stop being pulled in different directions and worrying. That’s a personal step that only you can take. You have to make the decision to stop letting fear and anxiety be the driving forces in your life. When those forces control you, you feel like you’re being “pulled in different directions.” However, when you choose peace, the only direction that you’re going is the direction that leads you closer to God.
The second phase of Paul’s command is to admit that you can’t do it on your own. Instead, you will have to ask God for help in choosing peace. Today, God wants to know every detail of your life. When you take everything, both good and bad to Him, you can experience a type of peace that doesn’t even make sense to you. Fortunately, Gods’ peace doesn’t have to make sense.
Choosing Peace in a World That’s Broken
Philippians 4:8-9 (TPT)
So keep your thoughts continually fixed on all that is authentic and real, honorable and admirable, beautiful and respectful, pure and holy, merciful and kind. And fasten your thoughts on every glorious work of God, praising Him always. Follow the example of all that we have imparted to you and the God of peace will be with you in all things.
There is no way that we can completely escape the things in our lives that would try to rob us of our peace. We live in a world that’s broken, and in turn, we are forced to face the things that have rendered it that way. However, you can control your thoughts.
We are a product of the things that go on in our minds. In Proverbs 23:7, Solomon wrote that “as a man thinks in his heart, so is he.” That means that the things that we think will have a direct impact on the way that we get through the things that we’re facing. If you spend your time thinking about all the negative things in your life, it will be harder to experience the peace of God. However, if you think about the things that Paul said we should keep our thoughts continually fixed on, then you can experience the “God of peace” with you in all things.
Once you have set your thoughts on the things of God, you can put those things into practice. That’s the second part of his command that produces peace. In the Sermon on the Mount, Christ said that His people should be peacemakers. That means that peace isn’t something that just happens. Instead, we have to make it. When you focus your thoughts on the right things, you can make peace in your own life.
A Closing Prayer:
Heavenly Father, help me to choose peace today. I know that things in my life are coming against me, but I also know if I will focus on the truths of Your Word and put them into practice that I can experience Your peace and presence in every part of my life. Help me to make the choices that will produce your peace today. In Christ’s name, Amen.