The Bible has many references to peace from beginning to end. Its opposite is stress, which is essentially a fear focus, a killer. Peace guards our hearts and minds (Phil. 4:6-7), while the stress works hard to destroy them!
For those who believe in Jesus Christ as their Lord, He promises two kinds of peace â€“ peace with Christ (Rom. 5:1) and the peace of Christ (John 14:27). These are two radically different kinds of peace. The first one essentially says we are no longer the object of his wrath because of sin in us, and the other offers us a â€œblanket of peaceâ€ that is intended to cover our every day affairs. When you consider that doctors say 80-85 percent of illnesses are stress related, you can see how badly we need the peace of Christ continuously.
Peace and health
Dr. Henry Wright, who has done a marvelous work of tracing illnesses to the root of peopleâ€™s problems, had this to say in a recent BeinHealth.com newsletter:
God has created us with the ability to be able to fight or flee when we are faced with fear. That mechanism is part of the Endocrine system, which includes the Limbic (emotional) system, and the Nervous system (autonomic and sympathetic).Â The delicate balance of these systems influences every aspect of our being, physical, emotional, and spiritual.Â The limbic system functions in the emotional aspects of behavior related to survival.Â Its major responsibility isÂ for the formation of memories. This is what we refer to as the mind-body connection.â€¨Depending on how we have responded to a situation in the past, our brain will remember and send a signal to our body to give us the hormones that correspond to the reaction. Being in a constant state of fleeing will keep our body in stress, because it was not designed to maintain those hormones.Â It was created to be at peace.Â As far as God is concerned, we need to face our enemy, not run from him. When we respond with flight, fear rules us.Â We will never defeat our enemy when we are running. God has taught us to not run from our enemies, but face them!
Stress is essentially a part of living this life, but how much we have can make the difference between good and poor health. God reminded me once when I was going through a particularly difficult time after losing a job that I needed to â€œtake no thought for my lifeâ€ (Matt. 6:25). This didnâ€™t mean I was not to consider the practical aspects of daily living, but not to focus on myself and my situation, which Jesus said wouldnâ€™t help at all. Self-focused people are always more fearful than others.
Where is your mind set?
Stress comes when we set our minds on ourselves and not God. Isa. 26:3 is a â€œrefrigerator verseâ€ if there ever was one:
â€œYou will guard him and keep him in perfect and constant peace whose mind [both its inclination and its character] is stayed on You, because he commits himself to You, leans on You, and hopes confidently in Youâ€ (Amp).
Likewise, Col. 3:1-4 actually commands us to continually set our minds on things above and not earthly things. Contrary to the old saying, that â€œpeople who are too heavenly minded are no earthly good,â€ this verse actually teaches the opposite.
â€œIf you are then â€œrisenâ€ with Christ, reach out for the highest gifts of Heaven, where your master reigns in power. Give your heart to the heavenly things, not to the passing things of earth. For, as far as this world is concerned, you are already dead, and your true life is a hidden one in Christ. One day, Christ, the secret center of our lives, will show himself openly, and you will all share in that magnificent denouementâ€ (J.B. Phillips New Testament).
Saved people, according to this verse, are already risen with Christ, and in Godâ€™s mind they have already â€œdiedâ€ because their old life was crucified with Jesus on the cross (Rom. 6:6). The new life of a Christian (the true life) is hidden in Christ. Knowing this surely can give us a great deal more peace if we get this down pat.
The peace that crushes
I know this articleâ€™s title is an oxymoron, but I chose it for a very good reason, that of understanding your peace as a weapon of war. We often talk about the sword of the spirit, speaking truth, the breastplate of righteousness, the helmet of salvation, shoes shod with the gospel of peace (taking the gospel to others), etc. But most people miss the following verse because itâ€™s atypical â€“ an essential weapon that is â€œburiedâ€ in the 16th chapter of Romans amongst a bunch of names rattled off by Paul, as he mentions many people affiliated with a certain household of believers.
â€œAnd the God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ (the Messiah) be with youâ€ (Rom. 16:20 Amp).
This group of believers living in Rome was apparently going through a rough spell that was precipitated by an attack of Satan. Persecution was likely rampant because of where they lived â€“ in the midst of Caesar worship. The fact that Satan provokes a great deal of unrest in us is not rocket science, but we often fail to recognize this and are crushed under the weight of fear, depression, anxiety, worry, dread and that â€œuneasy feeling,â€ which sometimes is the result of a subtle attack of the spirit of heaviness.
What to do
- Discerning believers will self-monitor. In other words, we should be aware of what may be causing our current spate of oppression.
- Prayer is always key and reading the Word to combat these attacks.
- Meditation, however, is likely the most unused weapon in our arsenal. I have rarely met Christians who meditate on the Word, who allow their hearts to settle upon Godâ€™s peaceful presence BEFORE the crazy day begins. It will be here in the quietness, more than likely, that God will show us WHAT or WHO is bugging us.
- If all else fails, call in the troopsâ€“other believers to pray for your worry, etc.
Christians often speak of The Tribulation. This word actually means â€œpressure.â€ We can expect increasing pressure from all sides as we approach the Day of Christâ€™s return. Remembering what crushes Satan under your feet â€“ Godâ€™s peace â€“ is a mighty important part of our arsenal.
The Message (MSG)
â€œDonâ€™t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of Godâ€™s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. Itâ€™s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.â€