The following post was originally written for the Voices of Faith column published in the Ashland Times-Gazette on 9/1/23. Members of our county ministerial association take turns writing this column for our local paper. I fleshed this out of a sermon that I gave at our church in August about putting on the armor of God.
It seems like peace is a rare commodity these days. I'm not merely talking about peace between people, governments, or countries, but peace where it matters most. Personal peace or peace in our souls -- spiritual peace.
When thinking about spiritual peace, there are two facets that need to be understood. There is peace WITH God and the peace OF God.
Peace with God means that we are no longer separated from God. The debt of sin has been paid through Jesus Christ who bridged that gap and restored our relationship with God. Therefore, we are at peace with God, but only if we have believed in and accepted Jesus as Savior. To go a bit further, God's peace "is also an inner tranquility and calmness of the soul," says Priscilla Shirer. "God's peace gives us a firm grip which we need in a world that is not firm. It gives us stability, allows us to keep our footing, and will help to keep us sane." That is the peace of God. And when a person is at peace with God, then they can begin to experience the peace of God.
Perhaps what we need is "peace hygiene." Most people equate hygiene with dental hygiene or a new one that has garnered attention in recent years -- "sleep hygiene." Just as sleep hygiene refers to healthy habits that promote good sleep, so can peace hygiene promote peace of calmness in one's soul.
In order to have true and lasting peace, you need to evaluate your relationship with God. Are you at peace with Him? As stated above, have you believed and accepted His Son, Jesus, as your Lord and Savior? Have you accepted His gift of forgiveness of your sin? If not, I would urge you to consider asking Him into your life. In John 14:27 (NLT), Jesus says, "I am leaving you with a gift -- peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don't be troubled or afraid." And having taken this first step towards peace, you can begin to tap into the peace of God. "Then you will experience God's peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:27 (NLT)
As with sleep hygiene, it is also important to not be focused on the bad things that are bombarding us and to remember that God is in control.
Max Lucado used this acronym for C.A.L.M. in his book, Anxious for Nothing. C - Celebrate God's goodness. A - Ask God for help. L - Leave your concerns with Him. M - Meditate on good things. I would suggest using this every day, perhaps at night before bed. A friend recently told me that she used to feel guilty when falling asleep when praying in bed, but she stated that it now gives her comfort and peace.
Space limitations prevent me from continuing with further steps. But whether you are a new or seasoned follower of Christ, we all need to practice peace hygiene.
P.S. What peace hygiene tips have helped you maintain your peace? Leave your comments below.
P.S.S. I was asked to sing "It is Well with My Soul" for a dear saint's funeral. I chose to use this arrangement by Chris Rice.