Defining Peace

“Great peace have those who love the law and nothing can make them stumble.” 

Psalms 119:165

Defining Peace

With the help of Noah Webster’s 1828 dictionary and my study of peace throughout the Bible, here is my definition of peace in a sentence: “Peace is the Undisturbed and Unagitated calmness and quietness of mind and spirit for wholeness and unity.”  The Hebrew language would use the word “Shalom” which is still a greeting in Israel today. In ancient Hebrew history, and even today, it would convey the idea of “wholeness or completeness.”  The Greek use of the word in the New Testament would even add the thought “to be joined together.”  In other words, the result of true peace is not just a spirit and mind which is undisturbed and unagitated, but it includes being whole, complete and in harmony and unity with God and others.

We find this idea of unity in the following verses, as well: “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace…” (Colossians 3:15). Here, Paul is using the human body to illustrate the point that, for the body to function properly, each part, the hand, foot, eyes must work together or nothing will get done. Peace is more than the absence of conflict or the agreement to stop fighting such as when two nations at war agree to stop fighting. True peace goes one step further. It happens when two nations, or two individuals for that matter, reconcile and start having meaningful relationship, working together for one another’s common good. When this happens, nothing can make you/them stumble! You are unified, stronger together and bound by common purpose. You have found peace.

Our cover verse, Psalm 119:165, tells how we may have peace and how we can overcome the world, sin, and selfish desires (not stumble). It happens when we love the Law of God. So many things happen for your good when you make the commitment to hide God’s Word/Law in your heart. Peace is one of these good things! Peace is a part of the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22). We must seek and pursue it (1 Peter 3:11). We must let it guard our hearts and minds (Philippians 4:7). Peace is a key attribute of the Kingdom of God (Romans 14:17). God will keep in perfect peace those whose mind are steadfast (Isaiah 26:3) and a future awaits those who seek peace (Psalm 37:37). So, make every effort to live in peace with everyone (Hebrews 12:14). Let’s add our definition of peace to this last Scripture verse. I do this to heighten our understanding and secure our use of the word. So, scripture + definition: “Make every effort to live undisturbed and unagitated in the calmness and quietness of your mind and spirit for wholeness and unity with everyone.” Nice! This makes clear what God is asking of us. Let’s practice this again using a verse from Jesus’ teaching on the Mount of  Beatitudes: “Blessed are the peacemakers, those who create an environment that is undisturbed and unagitated in the calmness and quietness of  mind and spirit for wholeness and unity with everyone, for they will be called sons of God. Coupling these definitions with the scripture brings a much fuller understanding of what peace looks like as it acts upon you (your experience) and as you allow it to flow from God through you (God’s call in action through your life) to others.

As I am writing this, the summer of 2020, we are experiencing the coronavirus which has led to the worst unemployment in America’s history, the death of many especially our seniors, uncertainty regarding businesses, normal activities and even pursuit some of our most cherished traditions. We are also experiencing a great lack of peace as a nation as we see an increase in riots, cries of injustice and anger (some justified, some not) and lawlessness. It would be easy to lose our peace. As you read this, you may be struggling with these issues or may have your own list of things which could easily cause you to lose your peace. I would encourage you to “not stumble.” How do you do that? Love His Law and Word and peace will come as Psalms 119: 165 promises. His Word has better promises than anything this world has to offer. Even in the case of losing your life, if offers something better than your life. Loving His Law/Word will truly cause you to love Him more than life itself. Romans 8:28 says, “All things work together for good for those who love God and are called according to his purpose”. There it is again – the importance of loving God and His Word which will bring peace and show you how to maintain it. Now is not the time to allow the struggles we face or the difficult times we live in to move us away from Him and cause our love to grow cold. If you want to cross that finish line some day with the peace of God in place, His love alive in your heart and the word of your testimony drawing others to Him, then love Him, love His Word cherish it in your heart. What you learn of Him and His Word will produce peace.

Love’s Influence For Everyone who truly lets Christ rule peace rule and reign in their life.

J.W. Brinkley 

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