Sunday, 19 June 2022 03:00

Article of faith: The blessing of peace (2) - Femi Aribisala

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Femi Aribisala Femi Aribisala

Jesus says: “The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life.” (John 6:63).

There is a spirit in the word of God. That spirit is peace. When God speaks, He speaks peace. The psalmist says: “I will hear what God the LORD will speak, for He will speak peace to His people and to His saints.” (Psalm 85:8).

The things written in the Bible are for our peace. Jesus says: “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33).

There was a storm and Jesus spoke to the waves: “Peace, be still.” And the sea was as calm as glass. As believers, we can also decree peace and it will be established. This is because we are sons of peace.

Jesus says: “Whatever house you enter, first say, ‘Peace to this house.’ And if a son of peace is there, your peace will rest on it; if not, it will return to you.” (Luke 10:5-6).

When husband and wife are quarrelling, and a believer is called to mediate, he can decree peace. Jesus says: “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.” (Matthew 5:9).

Gospel of peace

The gospel of the kingdom of God is designed: “To give light to those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.” (Luke 1:79).

At the birth of Jesus, the angel proclaimed to the shepherds: “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men!” (Luke 2:14). Therefore, the gospel is called the gospel of peace. (Romans 10:15). So, whenever you go to preach the gospel, first decree peace.

Prince of peace

Jesus is the prince of peace. He brought peace and preached peace: “The word which God sent to the children of Israel, preaching peace through Jesus Christ — He is Lord of all.” (Acts 10:36).

Jesus mediated peace between God and man. God was in Christ reconciling Himself to man so that man could be reconciled to God. “Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Romans 5:1).

Jesus mediated peace between Jews and Gentiles: “For Christ himself has brought peace to us. He united Jews and Gentiles into one people when, in his own body on the cross, he broke down the wall of hostility that separated us.” (Ephesians 2:14-15).

Acute distinctions

The peace of man is elusive: the peace of God is real. The peace of man is temporal: the peace of God is eternal. The peace of man is external: the peace of God is internal in the mind. The peace of man makes sense: the peace of God surpasses all human understanding.

Men often conceptualise peace as the absence of war. This is then negotiated through diplomacy and international peacekeeping. But God’s peace cannot be negotiated by men at the United Nations. It is the peace that only God can give, and it comes from a steadfast faith in God.

Isaiah says to God: “You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.” (Isaiah 26:3).

People often say in frustration: “I just want some peace and quiet!” When you hear this, you know immediately that the complainant is seeking the elusive peace of the world and not the peace of God. For there to be peace in the world, there must be quiet. Not so the peace of God.

The peace of God remains even in turmoil. It persists even in the middle of storms. It is established and sustained by the confident assurance that the word of God cannot fail.

Unrelenting peace

The peace of God does not come and go. It abides forever. It is constant and unrelenting. It is immune to changes in our situations and circumstances. For this reason, it is likened to a river: “‘For thus says the Lord: ‘Behold, I will extend peace to her like a river.’” (Isaiah 66:12).

If you stand on a bridge across a river and look down, you will notice the water keeps flowing in one direction without stopping. So it is with the peace of God. Like a river, it is always flowing in those of us who are privileged to have it.

Worry worshipers

Worriers are problem worshippers. They run from pillar to post, achieving nothing constructive but increasing their blood pressure.

God worshippers are different. Like Jonah, we sleep through storms because God “gives His beloved sleep.” (Psalm 127:2). When we invite God into our situation, the very first thing He does is to flood our hearts with His peace.

This peace is the signature of Jehovah Shalom. It tells us the ever-present God is manifestly there. That is why Moses, in his wisdom, was not in a hurry to take the children of Israel out of Egypt to the Promised land.

He said to God: “If You don’t go with us, we are not going.” He knew without God’s presence they would know no peace on the way. Therefore, God reassured him: “My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.” (Exodus 33:14). 

However, the Israelites did not have faith in God. They could not trust Him to protect them against their enemies. Therefore, they could not enter God’s rest, and so, out of all those who left Egypt with Moses, only Joshua and Caleb survived. All the others perished in the wilderness.

Entering God’s rest

Jesus renews this invitation to God’s peace to all humanity. He says: “Come to me, all you who labour and are heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” (Matthew 11:28-29).

We may be labouring for money. We may be burdened because we do not have a child. We may be depressed because we do not have any pride of life like a job, a car, or a home. But the Lord does not promise any of these.

He is not a God of money. Neither is he a God of children. He does not say: “Come to Me all you who labour and are heavy-laden, and I will give you a job, or a car or property. He says: “I will give you rest.” I will give you the peace that surpasses all human understanding.

Garden of Eden

Once, the Lord visited me and led me through the early chapters of Genesis. He told me He planted a garden, east of Eden. In it was every kind of precious and luscious fruit. The garden was planted by the rivers of water, and the trees brought forth their fruits seasonally.

Then the Lord suddenly turned the entire episode on me. He said to me: “Femi, I have planted this garden in your mind. I want you to tend the garden, keep it and dress it. Every plant that I have not planted must be uprooted.”

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