Author: Rachel Kidd
Since the dawn of time, people have waged war and wished peace on each other. In the midst of feast and famine, peace and war, Believers in the early church pronounced blessings of grace, peace, and mercy. In the years that followed, followers of Christ continued this tradition of blessings of peace, especially in the most trying times.. This Gaelic Blessing is an excellent example of this emphasis on the peace that comes with Christ.
Deep peace of the running wave to you.
Deep peace of the flowing air to you.
Deep peace of the quiet earth to you.
Deep peace of the shining stars to you.
Deep peace of the gentle night to you.
Moon and stars pour their healing light on you.
Deep peace of Christ, of Christ the light of the world to you.
Deep peace of Christ to you.
A Gaelic Blessing
God of Peace
You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you. – Isaiah 26:3
In the Old Testament book Isaiah, we are told that there are two conditions that must be met before God can bless us with peace. First, we must keep our minds steadfast, or resolute in our faith, and we must fully and completely trust in Him.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. – Philippians 4:6-8
In Philippians 4, Paul shares his practical advice for daily Christian living; a prescription for peace. He is talking about the peace of God, not world peace, rather the kind of perfect, personal peace that can only come through God.
Like Isaiah, Paul prescribes us twelve additional conditions we must meet in order for God to grant us His perfect peace.
- Do not worry about anything.
Paul was shackled in filthy, painful conditions in a Roman prison, beaten, whipped, and stoned. Paul was shipwrecked and blinded, experiencing all the horrors of persecution at the hands of the Romans. Yet, he did not worry because he relied on God’s grace.
- Pray about everything.
Sometimes prayer will deliver us from the pain we are experiencing, sometimes it will not. God sometimes chooses to give grace to live through the difficulty, the ability to endure it for His glory.
- Think about good things.
We are to control thoughts instead of letting them control us, not only for peace, but for sanity. To dwell on things that are unjust, painful, or impure only makes us feel discouraged and low. Even in the most difficult circumstances, thinking of good things that praise God will be uplifting to our soul.
- Do what is right.
Paul encouraged the Philippians to follow his example and live in a way that is right in the eyes of God. He tells them to do what they know and believe to be good and right.
- Do not question the value of the good you have done.
It can be difficult to live righteously and suffer in poverty, pain, or sickness while watching immoral, evil people live in comfort and wealth. But Paul reminds us that even if our good works are not rewarded on earth, we will be rewarded in heaven.
- Be thankful.
In prison, beaten and alone, Paul had two choices. He could grieve his unfortunate circumstances, or he could thank God for what he did have. He was alive and able to commune with the Lord, and so he chose to thank God for the opportunity to spend so much time with Him. We have that same choice too in our own difficult circumstances.
- Be gentle.
When we accept even our most difficult circumstances as the will of God instead of fighting against them, we can be at peace. This gentleness is of acceptance, understanding that we are a part of God’s plan.
- Be patient.
We have to learn to wait on the Lord, even when we don’t understand His ways or His plan for our life.
- Remember the nearness of our Lord.
The Lord always stands by us, even when others desert us. Paul was never alone, even when everyone he knew abandoned him, God never left his side. Remembering that our God is near brings us peace when we are lonely or afraid.
- Find joy in knowing Christ and growing closer to Him.
Our relationship with God should bring us joy as we learn about Him, bringing us peace rather than relying on the unreliable joy of earthly things.
- Value the approval of God, far above that of others.
The approval of man is conditional and fleeting, but walking in the way of the Lord means peace.
- Rest your hearts and minds in Christ, knowing that He can do what you cannot do.
It’s not what I am, it’s what He is. It’s not what I can do, it’s what He can do.
God wants you to find true and lasting peace in Him. While the Western mind typically operates in “either, or” categories, the Eastern mind operates with the understanding of “both, and” categories. While God is a God of righteous wrath and judgment, He is also a God of peace. May His peace rest upon you knowing that he wages war against the evil one on your behalf.
Utilize this list from the Great Physician as a blessing and medicine for your soul in the midst of the battle.