There are three things I know for sure about peace: Everybody wants it. God has provided it. Few people ever find it.
In the Old Testament, the word for peace is shalom or wholeness. In the New Testament, the Greek eirene means oneness with God, others, and yourself. Nothing is out of alignment. Nothing is out of balance. From this I would say peace is an inner calmness of spirit resulting from an inner confidence in God and leading to an obvious change in the way we approach life.
When I was a child, I worried about everything from the weather to the latest disease. Eventually, I became so worried about dying that I could no longer fully enjoy living. The thought of death scared me to death, and there was little to no peace in my heart.
Trust me. If God can change me from a fellow who worried about everything into a person who has “peace like a river,” He can do the same for you.
So, I have gathered seven simple secrets to lasting peace that have helped me along the way. I call them “secrets,” because so few people seem to know them even though they are revealed in the Word of God. They remain tucked away there for us to discover and use for ourselves.
1. The peace that you are searching for is available to you
God has made it possible to live with inner calmness, regardless of what is happening around you. Remember that God honors seekers. In my “pre-peace” life, I still prayed for, studied, and talked to others about peace. In time, God helped me understand that peace doesn’t come through people, popularity, prosperity, performance, or even through the praying of prayers. I learned that true peace only comes through trusting Jesus Christ.
Your heart may be as tumultuous as an ocean in a hurricane, but listen to Jesus’ words:
“Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid” (John 14:27).
His peace is different than what the world offers and can only be found in him. As Paul writes, “He Himself is our peace” (Ephesians 2:14).
2. Peace changes every area of your life
Peace will positively affect every area of your life: sleep, your day-to-day activities, and even the way you think about death. The psalmist David writes, “I will both lie down in peace, and sleep; for You alone, O LORD, make me dwell in safety” (Psalm 4:8).
Jesus also reminds us that peace helps us cope with life when it’s monotonous, tumultuous or anywhere in between. He said, “In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). God’s peace available not only during troubled times but also in the daily grind of life.
Perhaps most importantly, God has even made it possible for you to die in peace. Though many of the saints died in pain, all of them died in peace. The Bible says that Jesus came to “release those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage” (Hebrews 2:15). When we finally begin to understand that Jesus has freed us from death and its ensnaring fear, only then can we truly live.
3. Your heart has an emptiness that only God can fill.
Friend, the first step toward experiencing real, lasting peace is to make peace with God. Unless things are right in that department, it will be difficult to experience peace anywhere else. Unless there is peace vertically, there will be little to no peace internally nor horizontally. How could there be?
If you don’t have peace with God, you will be uptight, anxious, nervous, touchy, and pretty well miserable. Does that sound like you? If so, have you ever trusted Jesus to save you? When you do, you can rest in the fact that you are completely justified by Jesus. God no longer sees your sins, so you don’t have to live in fear or shame.
If you committed your salvation to him in the past, can you also now commit your soul into His care for the day-to-day? When you put your trust in Jesus, he will fill the emptiness of your soul with wholeness and balance.
4. We can live each day with the same peace that God Himself has.
After we have made peace with God, we can now begin to experience God’s peace. The Bible says, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7, emphasis mine).
Here we see two ways to experience God’s peace: prayer and faith. When we make our requests to God with thanksgiving, we are exercising both. Then, God’s own peace will guard our hearts and minds from Satan’s attempts to hijack our thoughts or emotions.
5. It is possible to be at peace with others… even if they are not at peace with you.
Once we are experiencing God’s peace, we are in a much better position to be peacemakers in our relationships with others (Matthew 5:9). Is there anyone with whom you are not at peace right now?
First, begin to pray that peace will be restored to that relationship. When you pray for peace, you are praying in the will of God. Ask God to show you what specific steps you need to take in order to bring about peace, and ask God to soften the other person’s heart, as well.
After you have prayed for peace, begin the process of pursuing peace. The other person may never apologize for their sins, and they may never forgive you for yours. It’s sad, but it happens. That is outside of your control. Keep being kind to that person and in what you say about that person. Never stop praying for them or for the miracle of reconciliation. We serve a God of miracles.
6. You can be at peace with yourself—even if everything in your life is not quite perfect.
Many Christians struggle with peace about things they cannot change. It may be their physical appearance, financial situation, or life circumstances. What do we do about these areas that shake our peace?
My high school geometry teacher had a picture with the Serenity Prayer placed on the wall. It’s the only thing that I still remember from that class, but it has served me well. Perhaps you’re familiar with it:
“God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change…
Courage to change the things I can…
And wisdom to know the difference…”
True peace comes through acceptance. First, through the acceptance of Jesus as our Savior and Lord. And then, through the acceptance of those things in life that we cannot change or control.
7. You can “keep the peace” even when things around you might not be all that peaceful.
Overall, the key to lasting peace is to trust Jesus and then just keep on trusting him. Sometimes, that means trusting him when nothing makes sense, when nothing seems clear, and when there seems to be no way.
In the plane ride of life, sometimes things get frightening, but we must remember the one who is bringing us through the turbulence. If we will focus on him, he will do the hard work of getting us home. After all, that’s His promise to us. He has promised to keep His children “in perfect peace” as long as we will trust in him (Isaiah 26:3). And God always keeps His promises.
Adapted from “How to have a Peaceful Heart: Seven Simple Secrets”