One thing we can all agree on; as evil grows in the world our peace is diminished proportionately. This view acknowledges and endorses the concept of what theoreticians call the "fixed sum concept". In essence this is like a cake, when a disease takes hold and spoils the cake, then the more the disease spreads the less good cake remains. Some may argue that this concept holds true for material things but not spiritual things but a close examination shows that it does.
From earliest times societies in general, even the most primitive ones, have sought to maintain peace; at least within that society or group. Peace, here described as the absence of war, was the essential condition for their survival since they could neither hunt, gather food, raise their children nor defend themselves from outsiders if they were tearing each other apart.
This is one of the reasons all societies had some kind of leadership structure, not unlike the animal kingdom, where the top man/woman was strong and could enforce discipline in the ranks. History shows that most primitive tribal leaders were fierce and strong and could physically manhandle his subordinates and would do so whenever necessary. The main role of the leader was to keep the peace.
Today's societies are not unlike those of earlier times, for however advanced we think we are, the same forces that were present to debilitate primitive societies are present today; and if unchecked will wreak havoc and destroy us all.
Even societies that do not reverence God still organize themselves to keep the peace since they have courts, laws and policemen and offer their citizens, at least, a modicum of protection.
Parents in all societies try to teach their offspring at least some morality, if not for the good of society, then for their own personal survival.
Morality is learned, not inherited, and here is where we have so many problems. There is a code of morality that can change with time because current knowledge can show it is flawed but there are some morals that are based on immutable principles.
For example there never was a time when parents having sexual relations with their children were right. There never was a time when humans having sexual relations with animals was right. There never was a time when it was right for you to murder someone you did not like. It does not mean that these things were not done; for humans have always inflicted humanity with the vilest of iniquity.
It is hard to fathom, but it is unfailingly true, that there are those in society whose aim is to create a turbulent world because they know it will destroy our peace.
Like those manufacturers of death, the companies whose very existence are tied to military warfare and the making of lethal weapons - bombs, guns, missiles, tanks, fighter airplanes, etc. - who are delighted with war and go to great lengths to perpetuate it. It is as if they took the quote from the prayers of St. Francis of Assisi, "Lord, make me an instrument of your peace, Where there is hatred, let me sow love," and besmirched and use it for their anthem, " O Lucifer make me an instrument of war, Where there is no hatred let me sow it, And where there is peace, warfare."
Like those anarchists and anomie's militants that delight in social stability and lawlessness, who, if they were allowed to have their way, would plunge the world into a feral jungle where life is lived on the edge, and horror, only dreamed of, become everyday reality.
Like those perverts in our midst, (and like it or not courts had found them to be so) that eschew the norms of civilized behaviour, and indulge in every depravity their evil minds dream up, and fiercely organize to get their decadence accepted.
All of these entities are evil and separated or together they create the conditions that cause a great deal of chaos, violence, instability and restlessness.
The truth is that good people the world over try to diminish evil, to lessen its impact and strive as best they can not to let evil touch them or their loved ones. Being mindful of this Jesus Christ taught his disciples to pray and say, "...but deliver us from evil..." for he knew only too well the disastrous consequences if we are trapped in or overwhelmed by evil.
But peace is not just an absence of war.
The world gives you peace that is the absence of war; it creates peace treaties and at the same time engage in covert action that undermines it; it gives you law and order and at the same time leaves your mind in torment; it gives you tranquility until the next disturbance or noise; it gives you peace with one hand and takes it away from the other. The peace the world gives is unreliable, transient, of dubious quality and shallow.
God, through Jesus Christ, give a different kind of peace.
Jesus Christ says, "Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you." (John 14:27) This peace is very different because it is God's peace, it comes from God, is sustained by God and every believer knows its efficaciousness.
This is the peace that the world cannot destroy, cannot disrupt, in truth cannot appreciate and do not possess. Isaiah affirms, "There is no peace, saith my God, to the wicked." (Isaiah 57:21)
On the contrary, believers from ancient times possessed God's peace, knew its great value, treasured its possession and the first priests were to commend it to God's people on all occasions during the blessing as here described: "The LORD bless you, and keep thee: The LORD make his face shine upon you, and be gracious unto thee: The LORD lift up his countenance upon you, and give you peace." (Numbers 6:24-26) Notice here it is the Lord [that]...give you peace.
God's peace is very important to every believer, for it insulates us from the slings and arrows of a decadent world in much the same way as shock-absorbers insulate passengers in a car from road bumps, and it ensures the right state of mind and heart. Here is how Paul puts it, "And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus." (Philippians 4:7)
This blessed peace of God has so many glorious aspects to it that it is worthwhile just to mention a few of them.
Here is how Adam Clarke in his Bible Commentary puts it:
"A wish of peace among them is thus to be understood: May you prosper in body and soul, and enjoy every earthly and heavenly good! ...Such tranquillity of soul, such uninterrupted happiness of mind, such everlasting friendship with God as I enjoy, may you all enjoy! And such blessedness I bequeath unto you: it is my last, my best, my dying legacy."
And John Gill in his Bible commentary chimes in like this:
"...but what seems chiefly designed here, is peace with God, which Christ is the sole author of; he was appointed in the council and covenant of peace to effect it; he became incarnate with that view, and did procure it by his sufferings and death; and as it was published by angels, when he came into the world, he left it, and gave it to his disciples when he was going out of it..."
God's peace is a blessing that comes to us through grace and since every blessing comes to us through Christ we can be assured of its lasting value. We have peace that will endure in all situations; we have peace sufficient for all eventualities; and we have peace that enriches, elevates and keeps us calm in the midst of life's storms. This glorious peace is manifested in the life of true believers and Satan can't snuff it out however hard he tries and the sceptics, detractors, atheists and their like cannot understand it and they never will.
So can a turbulent world destroys our peace? The answer is no, it can destroy a world-peace but our peace, the peace that comes through our relationship with God, is generated and sustained by God himself and no one is powerful enough to demolish that.
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Dr. Henderson Ward received his Doctor of Divinity in theology, with distinction, from Masters International School of Divinity, USA, where he is currently a post-doctoral fellow. Dr. Ward's career involved pastoring, evangelism, and teaching. Copyright 2013
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