5 ways to process peace for our hearts, the campus, and the world
Do you want to “love life and see good days?” Sure you do.
Wouldn’t you agree that helping students to truly experience good days and find real life are two of the greatest reasons and motivators of campus ministry and global mobilization?
I’ve yet to meet any student around the world who picks up their phone, opens their management app of choice, and hopes to check these off at the end of the day:
- Hate life
- Have a bad day
- Make a new enemy and/or lose an old friend
- Lay down each night with maximum anxiety
We all want to love life and see good days. Peace pursued and sought is the solution. This is not a selfish pursuit because true peace focuses on the glory of God, our hearts, and the good of others.
“Whoever desires to love life and see good days…let him seek peace and pursue it.” 1 Peter 3:10-11
Many of us are developing to be masters of methods, relationships, theology, and events but it’s becoming rare to find campus ministers who are marked by powerful peace.
We’re inviting students to have a taste of what we are tasting as we quote, “Taste and see that the Lord is good.”
But what does our breath smell like? Minty fresh or egg salad nasty?
Peace is a result of a deep love received, a hard fight of faith, and a hope that is focused on Jesus.
Peaceful hearts of consistent gospel proclamation are what our spiritually war-torn campuses and cities need. A campus ministry of peace-filled students and staff can push gospel proclamation to the ends of the earth in ways that zeal alone cannot do.
As this happens old trenches are filled up and turned into sending stations that resource the laborers forging on to the ends of the earth where new trenches must be dug and new fights must be fought.
This is the kind of life that we love and days we all long for. But peace must come before and during the fight, not just after it.
Below are a few thoughts on a P.E.A.C.E. that will give us greater longevity, impact, and reach. And to tweak some Augustine, God’s glory does not shine so much through restless hearts, but shines best and brightest through hearts that rest in Him.
Purchased and Pursued
Peace with God is something that Christ has made with us through His life, death, and resurrection. Peace comes to us because Jesus went to war for us, an unbelievably brutal war.
Christ’s battlefield assignment was to live a life of perfect obedience and die a sinner’s death on the cross as our substitute. In doing this He is able to deliver peace to unworthy, anxious idolaters who seek life, good days, and peace everywhere else except in God.
Peace is purchased and given, however, it is continually abandoned and forgotten by God’s children.
We can’t break the reality of the purchased peace by our waywardness but we constantly fail to experience it.
We seek peace outside of Christ and this leads to restlessness, anxiety, fear, and war within. Peace is to be pursued. Peace is not to be pursued leisurely, but aggressively.
Christ purchased peace for us that will last forever. Because Jesus is forever, our purchased peace is secure in Him. But here in this world, the temporary battle to experience the fruit of peace in Christ is constantly under attack from the world, our flesh, and the evil one.
Once we pursue peace, we are to enter into the rest provided. We often speak of promises of peace and fail to enter into it.
By faith, we can trust the promises of God that are far superior to the deceptive promises of the world. Entering into peace requires us to come out of fear, strife, and anxiety.
We are to walk out of darkness and into light, out of the cold into warmth, out of our paper fortresses and into Jesus.
While trials and hard times may seem to be the opposite of peace, they can be catalysts for it.
Peace in this world can be confused with the mental picture of resting in a shady hammock sipping a cool drink.
Peace is not found outside of Jesus. Being flipped out of our hammocks can be some of the clearest times of seeing our need to pursue peace and enter into it.
Trials are to be expected. Trials are used by the Lord to send us deeper into His peace because they expose the dangers of misplaced hope and happiness.
Centers on Christ’s Gospel
True peace cannot be found on any other hill than Calvary. True peace cannot be found in any other person than Jesus, the peacemaker. True peace cannot be held forever by any other hands than the hands that made our hearts.
Christ’s life of perfect righteousness freely given to us wins the war of approval and gives the peace of victory and acceptance.
Christ’s wrath-receiving death on the cross removes us from the battlefield where we ridiculously fight God and places us at His abundant banquet table, where Jesus serves!(What!)(Luke 12:37).
Peace with God, man, and in our hearts is a fruit of the Spirit that we are able to receive because of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus.
Extends to Others
The peace of God is personal and amazing, but it’s meant to flow up and out to others.
Believers are called to be proclaimers of the good news that the King of the world has made peace with us through His Son.
Once we embrace Christ as our peacemaker, He sends us out to help others know Him.
In Psalm 3, we find David fearing for his life and full of anxiety. By the end of Psalm 4 he not only has peace with God, he has a passionate heart for Israel.
The love of Christ provides us with a purchased peace that is to be pursued daily.
We want to love life and see good days. We need Christ. We need peace. Others need Christ and peace. May the gospel of peace go forth on campuses all around the world for the whole world.
2 Thessalonians 3:16 “Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times in every way. The Lord be with you all.”
John 14:27 “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.”
James 3:18 “Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness.”
Isaiah 59:8 The way of peace they do not know, and there is no justice in their paths; they have made their roads crooked; no one who treads on them knows peace.
Ephesians 2:17 “And he came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near.”
Colossians 3:15 “And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful.”
1 Peter 3:8-12 “Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind. Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing. For “Whoever desires to love life and see good days, let him keep his tongue from evil and his lips from speaking deceit; let him turn away from evil and do good; let him seek peace and pursue it. For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are open to their prayer. But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.”
Romans 5:1-5 “Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.”
Luke 12:37 “Blessed are those servants whom the master finds awake when he comes. Truly, I say to you, he will dress himself for service and have them recline at table, and he will come and serve them.”