3 DIFFERENCES BETWEEN WORLDLY PEACE AND JESUS’ PEACE
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.
Is anyone else tired of hearing the phrase, “unprecedented times”? The world seems to be adding more layers of “unprecedented” every day. Our persecuted brothers and sisters in Christ are especially vulnerable to these tragedies. Even so, Christians need not be surprised as “all creation groans for redemption” (Romans 8:22-24). Let’s explore the kind of peace Jesus offers in these trying times.
Have you ever wondered how people of different faiths live in peace when life crashes down all around them? If Christ is the true source of peace, why are there times when a Christian feels anxious yet in the very same circumstance an unbeliever is able to move forward in confidence?
Believing in Jesus does not mean you will automatically feel at peace during hard times.
Then what is the difference between peace that Jesus gives and peace that the world gives?
- The world’s peace is temporal. Jesus’ peace is eternal.
We live in a culture of immediate gratification. It is what feeds our addictions, greed, complacency, lust and more. For instance, the world’s offer of peace says that if you are a single person or unsatisfied with your marriage and you’re lonely, run into the arms of whoever will truly make you happy, regardless of how it could hurt others. Jesus’ offer of peace says to that same person, run to Jesus and to the body of Christ for comfort instead.The first option may sound a lot more appealing to our culture because it gives immediate satisfaction to our desires and brings a temporary peace. But the truth is, the second option will give a long-term and deeper sense of well-being. The world’s peace is wonderful at masking symptoms. It is the most amazing painkiller. Jesus’ peace, on the other hand, offers surgery for the deeper issues of the heart. It may feel less pleasurable, but it is more effective. And at the end of this age, the peace of Jesus will be forever sustained. The peace of the world will show its true worth and be blown away like dust.
- The world’s peace relies on the power of self, Jesus’ peace relies on Jesus.
What is the world’s best response to suffering? Suffering happens to everyone. Make the most of it by taking care of yourself and thinking positively. Jesus’ answer is quite a contrast. The focus shifts from self to God. “In this world, you will have trouble,” He says honestly. “But take heart,” he adds, “for I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).Who overcomes?Not circumstances nor positive self-talk. Not even gratitude or praise or trust in God (though these things can be immensely helpful in providing proper perspective and can certainly bring comfort and give glory to God)! The peace Jesus gives is based solely on Himself. This means that, if you are a follower of Christ, you have peace whether you feel like you have it or not. You have peace even on your most terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day because peace is not dependent on your effort. If nothing else in life is well, it can still be said, “it is well with my soul.” When everything falls apart, the world does not have that reassurance.
- The world’s peace strives to find purpose in suffering, Jesus’ peace is a free gift in the midst of suffering.
“At least you can let this tragedy motivate you to help others in similar situations.” You hear this sentiment from Christians and non-Christians alike. If we are not destroyed by it, all of us tend to clamor to find meaning in suffering. This is a noble desire revealing the resiliency God has designed in the human spirit. The difference between the world’s peace and Jesus’ peace in this instance is how one finds meaning in suffering. The world shoulders all the responsibility of forging meaning on human effort. What a terrible burden!In contrast, Paul says, “all things work out for good to those who love God and are called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28). We certainly have a responsibility to act (we are called according to His purpose), but we are not alone. We are in partnership with the God of the universe and with the Body of Christ, where the power of God also dwells. “If God is for us, who can be against us? (Romans 8:31). There is a strength behind Jesus’ peace that, even when no meaning can be found in a particular pain, has the capacity to stand firm in the knowledge that God is surely working for our good behind-the-scenes of life.So, what sort of peace will you lean into? Will it be the temporal, self-reliant, burdensome peace of this world? Or will it be the eternal, God-dependent, freely given peace of Jesus? Let’s pray today for the unprecedented peace Jesus gives to permeate hearts, from our persecuted siblings in Christ all around the world to our own fearful souls.