Our age is characterized by activity, energy, and action. Peace, however, is not an attribute of our times. Jesus offered his disciples the yoke of discipleship, and under his instruction they would experience rest and peace. “Peace I leave with you,” he told his friends at the Last Supper. “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)
He spoke about peace often: when he looked over Jerusalem he cried because the people of the city had never learned the things that would make for peace; when he commissioned his disciples to preach the Kingdom of God he told them to give their peace as a gift; when the resurrected Jesus appeared he greeted his friends with “Peace.” Peace is among the fruit of the Spirit. Peace is an attribute of believers even when they face persecution or violence. Peace is the fingerprint of Jesus upon the lives he has crafted.
Students of Jesus can learn rest and peace has they submit to his instruction in everyday life. There is a difference between finding peace and learning peace. He can teach us how to live a life of peace. The Apostle Paul, writing to a healthy group of believers in Philippi, gave these words as his final command:
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4: 6 – 7) These are famous verses. Perhaps you have heard of this incredible promise of “the peace which transcends understanding.” But has anyone taught us how to receive the gift of God, this perfect peace?
Monday’s Meditation is straightforward: how can I learn peace? We’ve all met people who have memorized massive chunks of the scripture, but still have no peace; people who pray constantly, but are still filled with anxiety; people who attend church regularly but live as if God is not involved in their everyday affairs. Where, then, can we learn peace? Let’s ask Jesus--I promise you he’ll answer, and it will come as no surprise that the answers can be found in surprising places.