Written by Josee Foster
I thought I was an expert at defining peace. After all, I did grow up singing cheesy “fruit of the Spirit” songs! Little did I know how little I knew. I didn’t realize peace is a gift, and like any good gift the Father wants to give His children, the enemy wants to steal it.
Life’s tragedies, injustices, sicknesses, and chaos begged the question: What is peace? Some define it as “freedom from disturbance; quiet and tranquility.” But that doesn’t mean it’s limited to forests away from the city, streams of rushing water or even silence. Peace isn’t passive. It’s a fruit (of the Spirit) which means it’s living, and growing. It is alive and active!
In Matthew 5 Jesus talks about blessing. The central message is that God gives! His very nature is generous. Jesus says that “God blesses those who work for peace.”
The word “work” can be misleading. If you’ve heard the gospel, it might raise some flags. I grew up in Christian environments and still never clearly heard the actual gospel. So, just to be very clear, the gospel (good news) is that we don’t actually need to work for the radical salvation God gives us. He does it all through Jesus, only by grace (He extends love where we would logically deserve punishment) and through faith (when we choose to believe that He truly is that good). The gospel crushes any belief that says we must earn our salvation by “working.”
But the Christian life is one of work. And work simply means “requiring effort.” It’s true that God fights for us, but we do have responsibilities. He split the sea for the Israelites, but they still had to walk through it. Walking is work. Walking is active. In the same way, once we receive the free gift of peace, we must use effort to unwrap it. True peace is not dependent on material security or status. God loves showering us in good things regardless of our circumstances.
Some weeks I can be so busy that I hardly sit down. My schedule can be stressful. I can be expected to do the impossible. But I can rest inside because of the peace that rules my heart (Colossians 3:16). Other times I have nothing going on, I could be laying down, and the storm inside hits when I choose to leave the gift on the shelf.
God loves us so much that He intervenes to show us the value of this gift. He doesn’t want us to live life without it. He makes us want to unwrap it, and helps us take good care of it. Think of a time you got a new phone, or even a new sweater—you would keep it clean and take good care of it. If it was stolen or broken, you’d be especially upset. A precious gift of such value causes us to go the extra mile to keep it in tiptop shape.
It’s worth going the extra mile to ditch any idea that steals the peace of Christ from inside of you. When I go against this peace, I always regret it. To maintain peace, you may have to say NO to things you want to say yes to, and YES to things you want to say no to. It may mean cancelling travel plans or saying no to an amazing job offer. It may mean driving somewhere you don’t want to go or saying something difficult.
The Amplified Bible puts it this way: “Blessed (spiritually calm with life-joy in God’s favor) are the makers and maintainers of peace, for they will (express His character and) be called the sons of God” (Matthew 5:9).
I’ve learned also to be a peacemaker. You may have to verbally disagree with people to create a pathway out of anxiety. You’ll have to actively “walk through the sea.” Speaking truth may cost you a reputation or opportunities—but it’s worth it, because it doesn’t end there. Peace is a gift that keeps on giving. The Lord has given me peace, and through it He has blessed me with freedom to be me. When there’s peace, I know whose I am, and when I know whose I am, I have peace. I am called a daughter of the Living God!
He has strengthened me to speak truth in heated conversations, because He is holding my little hand. He walks with me into saying “yes” to things that feel impossible, to go to sleep even when I have a full to-do list. When we do the hard thing, giving Him our YES and the world our NO, we access that “freedom from disturbance” the dictionary talks about. No matter what we see or hear, we feel our insides resting. Our souls are quiet and our spirits tranquil.
But we must first unwrap the gift. Let the Father bless you with peace today.