From world peace to inner peace, we all know that peace is a good thing, and that we’d like more of it. But in the uncertainty and intensity of everyday life, how do we find it?
As Christians, understanding the path to peace is an integral part of our journey with Jesus. Why? Because peace is who Jesus is. He is the very Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6).
True peace, we discover from scripture, is not just about thinking peaceful thoughts. It is something experienced holistically through our body, mind and soul as we spend intimate time in God’s transformative presence. Peace is a state of being; a place we can live from.
Genuine peace is a beautiful concept but often elusive, if not unobtainable, in practice. We live in a distraction-laden and stress-filled culture. Finding peace is something we all want, but rarely find. For me, it often feels like something about it just won’t stick. It’s as if something, or someone, is constantly stealing it from me. And it’s exhausting chasing it down again and again. Perhaps you can relate.
As we practice the presence of Jesus, we can discover for ourselves that he is the fountain of shalom
It begs the question: how do we get out of this hole? How do we find true, unshakeable, sustainable peace that can accompany us through all the ups-and-downs of life?
Putting peace into practice
Developing our intimacy with God and prioritising his presence should become a main objective – however busy we might feel. If we are to put peace into practice, we need to intentionally and mindfully create effective spaces to resist the distractions and stresses of the world in order to engage with Jesus. If we do that, we position ourselves to receive the gift of peace (John 14:27, 2 Thessalonians 3:16) that he has for us.
Consequently, this becomes an exercise for our mind, body and soul. There’s no use trying to find peace in our spirit if our body is tense and our mind is running at 10,000 miles an hour! Our physiology is just as important as our theology in this process. Godly peace is a peace for all times in every way. Knowing Jesus is the way to peace at a head knowledge level isn’t enough. We need to engage our whole being in this pursuit to experience it for ourselves.
The deeper you go on this subject, the more a holistic approach makes sense. The Hebrew word for peace used in the Bible is shalom. It describes far more than simply a pleasant feeling or intellectual concept.
At its root, shalom means ‘totality’. It speaks of total well-being, personally and communally, in mind, body and soul. The definition of shalom incorporates a sense of wholeness in every part of our lives. True shalom involves unity and harmony within ourselves, with those around us and with God. It is a beautiful, consuming word.
Shalom is the ancient source of what we would often call ‘wellness’. Scripture teaches us that this is God’s gift to us as we follow him, obey him and grow in him. Consequently, as we make space to connect with God, we are not just doing it for a warm fuzzy feeling. We are doing it because our intimacy with God brings true 360-degree wellness into every area of our lives, even as we endure stressful, painful or uncertain circumstances. Our body, mind and soul can all experience God’s shalom peace.
There’s no use trying to find peace in our spirit if our body is tense and our mind is running at 10,000 miles an hour
Even in the darkest times, the truth of Jesus gives us hope. And that hope can guide us to a place of peace. God is the very definition of shalom and, thanks to Jesus, we have direct access to his transformative and peaceful presence. Consequently, as we practice the presence of Jesus by intentionally seeking out moments of prayer, meditation or mindfulness, we can discover for ourselves that Jesus is the fountain of shalom.
So where does this leave us? As part of Glorify’s new Body series, we have been exploring how our physiology can help us to better connect with Jesus. If prayer and gratitude can lead us to experiencing the spiritual fruit of true peace, then we need to still our minds and bodies for long enough so that we can actually pray and be thankful.
Finding peace is not simply a mental exercise. It’s an exercise of intimacy. Within our chaotic lives, we need to slow our whole bodies down so that we can engage with the still, small voice of God’s Holy Spirit within us. Consequently, we need to be mindful. We need to consider our breathing. We need to stretch our tight and burdened muscles to allow our body to rest and refresh. Physical exercises can be immensely effective for positioning ourselves and being present before Jesus. They bring our whole being into alignment as we seek God’s voice and look to rest in him. Do not underestimate the power of your physical body today as you pursue the gift of peace that God has for you.