Episode 41: Peace to Live By, Part 1- Our Peace in Jesus

Peace to Live By Episode 41: Peace to Live By, Part 1- Our Peace in Jesus - Daniel Litton
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       Of all the things we have in this world, one of the most important is the peace we have in our minds. We often use the phrase “peace of mind,” and it is true that having peace of mind makes life the best it can be. If we are living in bad mental states all the time—states of fear, anxiety, chaos, depression—whatever it be—we won’t enjoy life as much as we could, and for some, they won’t enjoy life at all. So, peace then is very important to us. If we can have a peaceful mind within ourselves, this good mindset will pour over into our speech and lives. Life often times can be whatever we make of it, so why not live in peace all the time, if possible.

       The good news today is that if you’re a Christian, living a life of peace—having a peaceful mindset—is indeed possible. As a matter of fact, the Bible tells us that Jesus has given us his peace. One might say, “Really? Well, I sure don’t feel peaceful most of the time.” But we have to realize that our peace in our minds is a choice. Though God has given us his peace, we have to choose to live in that peace. You might have a lot of money saved up in a bank account, but if you never use that money, you will never enjoy the benefits of it. Well, God has deposited his peace to each of us, and we should make sure we are using it in our lives.

Point Number One: Jesus Has Given Us Peace

Jesus has told us in John 14:27, “I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart! And the peace I give isn’t fragile like the peace the world gives. So don’t be troubled or afraid” (TLB).

       That’s great news, isn’t it? It is great news to hear that Jesus has given us his peace, which we can live by in our lives. It’s not something that is shaky or shifty—as if it were based on external circumstances happening to us—but rather it is ours as a gift from Jesus. The world searches for peace—those who don’t know Jesus. But we don’t have to search for peace with them since we can take claim on the fact that we already have it. Our minds can be at peace all the time, if we will learn to so choose to let them be. Ah, but that’s the hard part, isn’t it? We have to choose to use the peace that Jesus has given to us.

       It is interesting when you read John 14:27 that Jesus tells us not to be troubled, or worried, and not to be afraid, or fear. Remember the famous phrase spoken by President Franklin Roosevelt at his first inaugural address? He said, “The only thing we have to fear, is fear itself.” And really, that statement is true for the Christian. Our peace is not based on our external circumstances that occur in our lives, but our peace is grounded in Jesus. It’s like when Jesus said, “Though the rain comes in torrents, and the floods rise and the storm winds beat against his house, it won’t collapse, for it is built on rock” (Matthew 7:25, TLB). We have a solid foundation in Jesus, one that stands firm in peace no matter what happens in our lives.

       We can always have peace in the one simple fact that Jesus is always with us. The Bible says that, “For God has said, “I will never, never fail you nor forsake you.” That is why we can say without any doubt or fear, “The Lord is my Helper, and I am not afraid of anything that mere man can do to me.” Bottom line is that no matter what kind of situation we find ourselves in during our lives, we know that God is always with us by our sides. No matter if even everyone in the world were to abandon us—our family, our friends, a spouse, people at work—there is always one thing that is true. Jesus said, “I am with you always, even to the end of the world” (Matthew 28:20, TLB). We don’t have to fear the unexpected disruptions and disappointments that come in life because we have God by our side. He knew they were coming, and he will see us through them. We can keep out peace if we so choose, and let him worry about our problem.

Point Number Two: Our Peace Comes from What Jesus Did for Us

Colossians 1:19 & 20 says, “It was through what his Son did that God cleared a path for everything to come to him—all things in heaven and on earth—for Christ’s death on the cross has made peace with God for all by his blood” (TLB).

       Without Jesus’ accomplishment on the cross for us, which he did on our behalf, none of us would even be able to approach God. But because of what Christ did, by dying on the cross in our place, he has paved the way for us to be chosen by God, both sons and daughters, a people acceptable to him. As it is written elsewhere, “Now we can come fearlessly right into God’s presence, assured of his glad welcome when we come with Christ and trust in him” (Ephesians 3:12, TLB). Christ’s death and resurrection is everything for us, as Christians, since it gives us a good and righteous standing with God. We now know that, “if we confess our sins to him, he [God] can be depended on to forgive us and to cleanse us from every wrong” (1 John 1:9, TLB).

       It is true that for those of us who know Jesus as our Lord and Savior in life—for those of us who are in personal relationship with him—we have more than just a righteous legal standing: again we have peace with God because of Christ’s death and resurrection. Indeed, the Apostle Paul noted in Romans, “So now, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith in his promises, we can have real peace with him because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us” (5:1, TLB). Actually, we had to have ‘faith’ in God by trusting in his Son for the foreignness for our sins, the wrong things we’ve done in the past against God and other people. But our ‘faith’ is our assurance of a right standing with God (see Hebrews 11:1). As Paul said also, “ And so we should not be like cringing, fearful slaves, but we should behave like God’s very own children, adopted into the bosom of his family, and calling to him, “Father, Father” (Romans 8:15, TLB).

       Perhaps your issue today is that you don’t have a personal relationship with God. Perhaps you feel far away from him, and you know there are things you're practicing in your life, things you know are not pleasing to God, that make you feel separated from him. You can also share in this peace that I am talking about today. Anyone can. Nobody is exempt from experiencing it or disqualified. You see, we don’t gain peace in our lives, in our minds, by following rules in order to please God in Heaven. That’s a works-based religion. If you’re living that way, the good feeling you get when you do seemingly ‘good’ things is a prideful feeling—and isn’t based in true peace, true acceptance.

       To be sure, the Bible says, “But now God has shown us a different way to heaven—not by “being good enough” and trying to keep his laws, but by a new way (though not new, really, for the Scriptures told about it long ago). Now God says he will accept and acquit us—declare us “not guilty”—if we trust Jesus Christ to take away our sins. And we all can be saved in this same way, by coming to Christ, no matter who we are or what we have been like” (Romans 3:21, 22, TLB). So, peace with God can belong to anybody.

Point Number Three: Choose to Let the Peace of Christ Rule in You

Colossians 3:15 says, “Let the peace of heart that comes from Christ be always present in your hearts and lives, for this is your responsibility and privilege as members of his body. And always be thankful” (TLB).

       As I mentioned earlier, just because we have ‘peace’ from God does not mean that we always use it, practice it, or let it rule in our minds. Indeed, as we learn to combat wrong thoughts that come into our minds, getting rid of anything that doesn’t belong there, we then experience more and more peace. So our peace that we cultivate into our minds will actually then cultivate in our lives. We will have better attitudes about ourselves, and better attitudes toward others as we treat them better. Our peace will make us feel like being better people. We won’t be so down trodden that we don’t feel like doing anything, but we will want to live life to its fullest extent. Indeed, as Paul just said, we have a “responsibility and privilege” to let peace flow in our lives.

       If we look at the fruit of the Spirit, the things that the Holy Spirit wants to produce in our lives, we will see peace listed there. Remember the verse in Galatians? It says, “When the Holy Spirit controls our lives he will produce this kind of fruit in us: love, joy, peace…” (5:22, TLB). So, when we live our lives yielding in our minds to the Spirit—thinking right thoughts, and not thinking on wrong, evil, or misleading thoughts—we will have ‘peace’ growing in our internal thoughts. This will make life more enjoyable for us, as Christians, because we will have clearer and cleaner minds, all the while being more pleasing to God in our thought-life. God’s commands are good for us; they lead us into a more fulfilling life, and the case is no different here.

       Let’s remind ourselves of what Solomon told us in Proverbs: “If you want favor with both God and man, and a reputation for good judgment and common sense, then trust the Lord completely; don’t ever trust yourself. In everything you do, put God first, and he will direct you and crown your efforts with success. Don’t be conceited, sure of your own wisdom. Instead, trust and reverence the Lord, and turn your back on evil; when you do that, then you will be given renewed health and vitality” (3:4-8, TLB). Indeed, our trusting in God will produce peace in our lives. We trust God by putting him first in life, first in every decision that matters. When we do this, we will have peace because we will know we are in being pleasing to God and doing the right thing by putting him first. And when we put God first, we know there is nothing to worry about (see Matthew 6).

       And while we shouldn’t be thinking about wrong thoughts (more on this next week), we are clearly told by God what we should be thinking about. Paul told the Philippians, “And now, brothers, as I close this letter, let me say this one more thing: Fix your thoughts on what is true and good and right. Think about things that are pure and lovely, and dwell on the fine, good things in others. Think about all you can praise God for and be glad about” (Philippians 4:8, TLB). Now, we shouldn’t complicate this. We can think about anything that is good. We can admire the beauty of nature, good things that other people do, and even dwell on great truths in the Bible. We can thank God for the good things he has done in our lives, and the good he is currently doing. Whatever we want think about is fine, but it needs to be good things and not negative, worrisome, or evil things.

Point Number Four: You Can Live at Peace with Others

The Apostle Paul told us, “Don’t quarrel with anyone. Be at peace with everyone, just as much as possible” (Romans 12:18, TLB).

       We can definitely do our part when it comes to living at peace with other people, whether they be Christian or non-Christian. With our fellow Christians, there should never be an occasion where we don’t live at peace with someone. Even if we have a disagreement with a fellow brother or sister, it should not put a wedge between our relationship. As long as it isn’t a foundational doctrine or moral issue that’s causing the disagreement, we need to learn to be at peace with each other, and thereby sow harmony with each other in the body of Christ, with the people at our church. We need to learn to pass-by or let little and non-significant offense go, and when there is a ‘real’ problem that we need deal with, we need to deal with it and not let it fester into a bigger, harder-to-deal-with problem.

       With non-Christians as well, we can do our part at living in peace with all of them. Now living in peace with them doesn’t mean we agree with everything they believe about the world (as some would like to say it has to mean). It is true that times will come in our lives when certain individuals don’t like us for what we stand for or what we believe. But that’s ok. Jesus told us that was going to happen. But we can do our part to still be nice to others even when they are not nice to us. We can work to love others who don’t love us in return, or those whom we know have something against it. Especially in today’s world, it is true that with certain positions we hold, moral or whatever, unbelievers are going to label us as the problem and as dividers. But we can still love them in return when they get mad as us, and not return their anger with anger ourselves. God loves everyone in the world, and so can we.

       Sometimes it’s true that you’ve done everything you can to be at peace with a non-Christian, but the other person doesn’t want to have peace with you. That’s why Paul said, “Be at peace with everyone, just as much as possible” (Romans 12:18, TLB). Or, to look at the English Standard Version, it says “so far as it depends on you.” We can only do so much to make peace with others who have something against us. The other person can sometimes have a pride issue on their part, and not want to let the personal offense go. Now, with Christians, there should not be an instance where you would not be at peace with another person. Life is more than whatever offense has occurred.

       When Paul was writing to the church at Philippi, apparently there were two Christians who didn’t have peace with each other because of some sort of disagreement that had occurred. But Paul told the whole church, “And now I want to plead with those two dear women, Euodias and Syntyche. Please, please, with the Lord’s help, quarrel no more—be friends again.” (Philippians 4:2, TLB). A personal disagreement with another fellow Christian should not go so far that it’s known by the whole church. Remind yourself again of Colossians 3:15, “Let the peace of heart that comes from Christ be always present in your hearts and lives, for this is your responsibility and privilege as members of his body.” (TLB).

Point Number Five: You Can Have Peace within Your Family

Colossians 1:19-21 says, “You wives, submit yourselves to your husbands, for that is what the Lord has planned for you. And you husbands must be loving and kind to your wives and not bitter against them nor harsh. You children must always obey your fathers and mothers, for that pleases the Lord. Fathers, don’t scold your children so much that they become discouraged and quit trying.” (TLB).

       Basically, these three verses give you the formula for a peaceful household. So, there are four sub-points to note here. Sub-point one is that wives need to be willing to follow their husbands wherever they are leading. God has setup the household in such a way that the husband is the leader, the one person whom the wife and children are to follow. I understand that for some this may seem foreign, as our society has messed this one up quite a bit. But when a wife leads and the husband follows, that produces discord and a lack of peace—for the husband obviously because he has not been wired to follow his wife, and it causes perhaps unrecognized problems for the wife. She is not following the role God has designed for her in following her husband.

       God has setup order to things in this world, and he has setup order in the family. Peter did not say to Jesus, “Follow me,” but rather Jesus said that to Peter. And so it is with marriage. And, as an aside, there are no husbands with husbands, or wives with wives. That’s disorder, and Christians are not be like some in this world, following “the ignorance of foolish people” as Peter called it (1 Peter 2:15, ESV). True peace and childrearing cannot be found in ‘so-called’ households where there are two husbands or two wives, raising children. That’s an abomination. Remember, God destroyed two cites many, many years ago over this kind of sin.

       And, sub-point two is that while the wife needs to follow her husband’s leading, the husband should not be domineering over his wife. God said, “You husbands must be loving and kind to your wives and not bitter against them nor harsh” (v. 20, TLB). So, then, (now pay attention husbands!) that means showing love and being kind, and not acting bitter or being harsh. Peter said in his epistle, “You husbands must be careful of your wives, being thoughtful of their needs and honoring them as the weaker sex. Remember that you and your wife are partners in receiving God’s blessings, and if you don’t treat her as you should, your prayers will not get ready answers” (1 Peter 3:7, TLB). When the husband isn’t sensitive with his wife’s feelings, and doesn’t care for her, this sows not only discord in the household but also in the man’s relationship with God. Men, that’s not a place you want to be in.

       Now, finally, sub-point three is directed at children. Again, God said, “You children must always obey your fathers and mothers, for that pleases the Lord.” For any children who are listening, it is very important to obey what your Mom or Dad says, even when you don’t agree with them. Remember, they are older than you, have finished school and are wiser than you. It makes Jesus happy, and is actually helps you. If you’re mother wants you to do something, you need to do it. If she doesn’t want you doing something, you should listen to her and not do it. This makes everyone at home happy in the long-run, and even though it may not be what you want at the moment, it makes Jesus happy when you obey. And you will feel better about your choice later on.

       Finally, sub-point four is this: “Fathers, don’t scold your children so much that they become discouraged and quit trying.” Remember, Dads, don’t be too hard on your children, but give them discipline where and when necessary, but do not discipline them too much or for things that really don’t matter. Note that God doesn’t discipline you every time you sin against him, so you should not be overbearing on your child or children. The right amount of discipline promotes peace in the household. Too much discipline promotes chaos, discord, fearful children, and an upset wife. And it is also good and necessary for you to motive your child where he or she has interests, and help cultivate that interest in him and her. Spend time with your children. Go to their concerts, games, or whatever it be, and show interest in what they like. Every child is different and unique, but try to keep discipline the same for each child. Do not show favoritism among your children, as God does not either.

       Now, next week we are going to talk about several things that take away our peace, and we will look individually at each of those in detail.


       In closing today, as I talked about toward the beginning of this message, this peace that comes from Jesus is available to anyone today—no matter who you are. No exceptions. God wants to be in a personal relationship with everybody, and that includes you right now if you don’t know God. Even if you feel you’re too far from God, or that you’re not good enough, that’s ok—God can forgive you of any sins you may have done and can bring you close to him. You just need to trust him. Now, he’s not going to let you come to him and keep your sin, that’s not part of the deal. But if you will turn from you sin, the things you know deep down aren’t right, and believe in Jesus—God will accept you today, and make his home with you.

       It is written in Romans, “Yes, all have sinned; all fall short of God’s glorious ideal; yet now God declares us “not guilty” of offending him if we trust in Jesus Christ, who in his kindness freely takes away our sins. For God sent Christ Jesus to take the punishment for our sins and to end all God’s anger against us. He used Christ’s blood and our faith as the means of saving us from his wrath” (3:23-25, TLB).

       If you would like to believe in Jesus today, gain life now and eternal life forever for the future, then follow my lead in this simple prayer:

       God, I am currently separated from you today. But I realize that you love me and want to be in relationship with me. And, I today, have decided that I want to be in relationship with you and to live my life the right way. I do accept Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross for all of my sins against you, believing he died for me and rose from the dead, and now is in Heaven with you. Father, I want to turn from following this world today and follow your way instead. Please start a change in me, making me become more like you want me to be, more like Jesus. In Jesus Name we pray, Amen.

-Daniel Litton


Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from The Living Bible copyright © 1971. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

Scripture quotations marked (ESV) are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.