I have an opportunity to speak in a chapel service at a local Christian high school. The principal told me that the theme for this school year is the fruit of the Spirit, and at the time which I would be speaking they are focusing on peace. So, I decided to write an article on what I will sharing with this group of high school students.
No matter what the world does there is no peace. In fact it has gotten worse. When I was in high school there were no mass shootings on a continual basis, no terrorism, no serious nuclear threat, or demonstrations against free speech. Lots of things that are present now that are anti-peace did not exist then.
What is peace? The late former president, Ronald Reagan, said, “Peace is not absence of conflict, it is the ability to handle conflict by peaceful means.” But we don’t see that today, do we? So many people do not want to come together and settle conflicts and differences peacefully. The inability of the world to obtain real peace, and the lack of desire to talk about things peacefully all stem from the condition of one’s character, because true peace really begins in the heart of each person.
While the secular culture thinks of peace as being only an absence of conflict between nations, races, ethnic groups, religions, or whatever else one might add to the list, Jesus comes along and says in John 14:27, “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give to you, not as the world gives…” The Apostle Paul adds to this when he talks about a “peace that passes all understanding” in Philippians 4:7. This is an inner peace which we can’t humanly comprehend. I believe this to be the peace that is one of the fruits of the Holy Spirit listed in Galatians 5:22-23. There is nothing we need to do, or can do, to bring about this kind of peace. It is given to those who put their faith and trust in Jesus Christ.
It goes even further. Isaiah 26:3 mentions a “perfect peace.” Wow, there is something even better than peace? The whole verse reads, “I will keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on me.” I did some research on this verse. This is a peace in the midst of emotional (and maybe physical) “storms” and sickness in one’s own personal life. It is a deep-down quiet confidence, a condition of freedom from the disturbances of one’s soul. There is no room for attitudes that cause lack of peace within a person or in their relationships. Isn’t this what the world is really seeking but will never find apart from God?
There are many people who have no hope and peace. They have emotional storms and disturbances within their souls. This includes high school students. Depression and suicide are at an all-time high. Suicide right now is one of the leading causes of death among high school students! Recently at church we sang a chorus with the words, “go to where the hurting are.” Do you have peers that are hurting emotionally because of no peace in their lives? How can you show them the kind of peace that only Jesus can give?