While recently driving through our wonderful city, my attention was arrested by this inscription written on a church marquee: “Know Jesus, Know Peace, No Jesus, No Peace.”
Anyone who has ever had a personal encounter with Jesus Christ is aware of the overwhelming peace that his presence brings to their life. I have learned that real change takes place in a person’s life the moment they experience real peace, which can be described as “harmony that results when there is the absence of conflict.”
Conflict primarily is viewed as a physical altercation, which takes place between two or more entities, which can be viewed as external conflict. However, long before we see the appearance of external conflict, chances are internal conflict already took place.
Internal conflict is a result of the battle between the consciousness of our sinful nature and the consciousness of God’s presence in our lives. Our sinful nature remains motivated by innate, selfish desires and seeks only to please itself, while the consciousness of God in our hearts seeks to please Him who created us in his image.
When you think about it, we would experience less external conflict if we would learn to confront and resolve the inner conflicts raging within us. And when we resolve that conflict, we will experience the peace of God that surpasses human comprehension.
I have discovered that many of us fail to realize the impact of internal conflict until an external force opposes what we value. Whether it is our conservative or liberal perspective, when a difference of opinion arises, it challenges our inward peace. And if we are not tolerant, mature and full of peace, conflict will erupt from within and develop into and external battle.
The Apostle James posed this rhetorical question in his epistle: “What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this that your passions are at war within you?” (James 4:1 ESV).
I believe James was referencing the fact that the “absence of inward peace in our lives leads to the presence of external conflict.”
Consider these three forms of biblical peace. By embracing them as a part of your life, you will discover a peace that is beyond human comprehension.
Peace of God
“You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.” (Isaiah 26:3 ESV)
Trusting God regardless of your situation enables him to grant you his “complete peace,” which will sustain you through conflict and turmoil.
Peace with God
“Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord, Jesus Christ.” (Romans 5:1 ESV)
My faith in the redemptive work of Christ assures me of peace with God. It gives me assurance that at my weakest point, I remain secure in him.
Peace from God
“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.” (John 14:27 ESV)
There is a peace that God provides for us, designed to resolve the inward conflict raging within. When society ignores His peace, we are left to our own natural instincts to confront the battle that rages within. Our failure to successfully find our own inward peace one day may result in an external conflict that will divide us all as a society.
I pray we all find His peace.
Betton is the pastor of Temple of Praise Church Ministries and a member of the United Ministerial Alliance.