Welcome to Welling, for your spiritual well-being and ministry overflowing. This is a time of the world which is a huge cry for peace, yearning for peace, peace on the outside, peace on the inside, peace on the world sphere, peace on the internal experience.
This is why the wonderful promise and assurance of a peace wish at the end of 2 Thessalonians, our key verse, becomes extremely meaningful to you. Where the apostle Paul wishes the Thessalonians in a final note before he signs off with his own handwriting. He says, “Now may the Lord of peace himself continue to grant you peace in every circumstance. The Lord be with you all.”
Twice the word is used, peace, peace, and twice the word Lord is used, Lord, Lord. They’re connected, but let’s look at the peace side of it before we look at the Lord’s side of it next time.
Duke University in the United States, they did a study in peace of mind and said these are the factors that contribute to both mental and emotional stability, stability sort of a future of peace. There should be absence of suspicion and resentment. If you hold grudges, that’s a huge factor in unhappiness.
You cannot be living in the past with regret and mistakes that you made, which lead you to depression. You can’t be wasting time and energy on matters that you cannot change. Reality is the demand for cooperation. You can’t run away from it. They also suggested that you stay involved not withdraw, though there’s a temptation to become reclusive.
Another encouragement is to share your anxiety with others to diminish your anxiety because everybody experiences sorrow and misfortune.
As I look at that list, good list, a couple of positive features there, but the main definition of peace there seems to be a negative definition, the absence of anxiety, the supposedly peace or the absence of hostility is peace.
They do meet the conditions of experiencing peace, but peace is not primarily the absence of external realities and internal feelings. It is also the presence which overcomes those internal feelings, especially when it comes to uncontrollable circumstances.
Peace in your heart, peace in your mind, now that’s the presence of peace. Peace in your relationships, that brings peace. Peace in spite of your circumstances and in your circumstances, that’s peace. Where you’re hopeful and confident of a future that you don’t know and still can handle the fears of the present, that’s peace.
What is peace then? Peace is not just the absence of anxiety and hostility but the very presence of God in you. He’s the only one who can give peace because he owns peace. You don’t want a God who’s as afraid of the circumstance as you are, do you? You don’t want a God who is as ignorant of the circumstance as you are, do you?
You want the God who owns peace, who lives peace. The Lord Jesus in the final week of his life before he paid for the sins of the world faces a daunting week of pressure and pain and suffering where he carries the penalty of your sin and mine, bloodied, crucified, and yet has a steady control and awareness of the circumstances because he has lived peace.
The Lord of peace himself can give you peace. He gives peace. That’s why the apostle Paul can repeat the word peace. It’s an emphatic peace. You can receive it. The presence of God in your life brings the peace of God to your life.