Endurance, Grace and Strength, Quiet and Listening to God

2 Kinds of Peace – What is True Peace? & the Role of Holy Spirit

2-kinds-of-peace-true-peace

   Peace I leave you, My peace I give you; not as the world gives, do I give to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled, nor afraid. – John 14:27

Peace is one of those words that gets tossed around a lot, especially in discernment circles. It’s so simple people think it’s obvious, which means almost nobody actually thinks about it, and then everybody falls for the counterfeit. It’s quite an effective system, if you think about it, this plan of the Enemy. Infiltrate, change definitions, make everybody think they know everything so that they never seek more.

No one can learn anything they think they already know!

We need to shake things up. We need to rediscover words and the power of contemplation, so that meaning can once again touch our souls.

So, what is true peace? Where does it come from? Why do we need it? And, while we’re at it, what is the role of the Holy Spirit? (Hint – It’s HUGE!)

2 Kinds of Peace

There are really 2 kinds of peace.

#1 – The Peace the world gives

 My peace I give you; not as the world gives, do I give to you.- John 14:27

#2 – And peace that is the “fruit of the spirit”

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; – Galatians 5:22-23

(See! I told you the Holy Spirit was going to have a big role here)

Let’s examine both of these kinds of peace in greater detail.

1 – The Peace the World Gives

I like to think of the peace the world gives us as a certain level of comfort.

We are able to seek a safe and cozy home here on earth. We “set boundaries”, capture our thoughts, and avoid negative people. We strive to find our “sweet spot” and do what we enjoy with the people we enjoy doing it with, and hopefully make a living at the same time. This is the world’s definition of success, (not to mention maturity and healthy living). This is the goal of the vast majority of the world’s population. It is the epitome of the American dream and the “purpose of freedom”.

Somehow the battles we face to protect our idyllic comfort zone affirm for us that it is “exactly where we are supposed to be”. The challenges make us believe that we are working toward something good, they make us feel accomplished and like we are growing.

An Analogy

I picture the peace the world gives like a glossy mirror lake surface at sunset with mountains in the background.

Idyllic.

Romantic.

Perfect.

No wind, nothing rocking your pristine paddleboard for one as you lie there soaking up the last drops of pink sunshine. If you could encapsulate this moment, you would. It would be eternal. No weather changes, no nightfall, no cold, no waves, no other people (ok, maybe 1 or 2 of your favorites – but nobody who could taint this perfect moment), no mosquitoes, no worries. We consider ourselves heroic if we manage to keep calm as night falls, and we consider ourselves ingenious if we manage to invent a sort of metaphorical bubble that can fit over our reverie keeping out the chill and the bugs.

Despite our best efforts however, eventually we find that something always pokes at this comfort zone. Waves come. Seasons change. People change. Then what? You find yourself forced to take action. In order to protect your sacred space you have to either fight – fight off whatever or whoever you perceive to be attacking you or encroaching on your space –  or flee from him.

But, this leaves you in a catch 22 situation.

If you fight, you disturb your own waters and you are threatened with falling off your precarious tiny flotation device and possibly even drowning (you are good at envisioning worst case scenarios)

OR if you flee, you begin to realize that there will always be something more to flee from, which leaves you with a claustrophobically small comfort zone and nowhere to go.

As long as we are still enjoying those last rays of sunlight, however, even thinking about the inevitable demise of our comfort zone messes with our peace… so we choose, “heroically”, to live “in the moment” (and in denial).

2 – The difference when peace is a “Fruit of the Spirit”

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; – Galatians 5:22-23

I think it is interesting that Jesus calls the Holy Spirit a Comforter (it made me smile that the AMP Bible translation includes ALL the possible translations for the word used here – so that’s the version I’m sharing below) It really seems to correlate with the idea of Peace as a certain level of comfort, maybe not so much physical in this context anymore but on a deeper relational, mental, and spiritual level.

And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper (Comforter, Advocate, Intercessor—Counselor, Strengthener, Standby), to be with you forever – John 14:16 (AMP)

But the passage doesn’t stop there. Jesus goes on:

“… a spirit of truth which the world cannot accept because it neither sees it nor knows it. But you know it, because it remains with you, and will be in you. – John 14:17

 the world cannot accept because it neither sees it nor knows it. Does this sound familiar with the tactic of the Enemy I was talking about at the beginning? Infiltrate, undermine definitions and then just sit back and watch everything fall apart.

When people doctor up their definitions to make them more palatable to human ears, what we actually do is make them incompatible with reality.

And most human beings aren’t stupid. We pick out plotholes like water in a rusty bucket. If the truth doesn’t “hold water”, why believe it?

Enter, the crisis of faith.

Where people go wrong, however, is in thinking that because water leaks from this bucket that we have no bucket, when really the perfect shiny bucket is sitting next to the wall behind you, you just accepted the broken one thinking they were all the same, and got so disappointed in the leak that you forgot to look around you for another bucket.

This is why I firmly believe that the Peace of the Spirit would best be described, not so much as comfort the way we typically think of it, but rather of CONVICTION.

 

CONVICTION

Conviction is so certain of truth and stable in trust that it cannot be shaken.

No leaks threaten its strength. It can face lions, dungeons, fire and sword and not be moved. There is a certainty in conviction that keeps one steady and focused even in the face of intense persecution and opposition. Truth is unflinching and unchanging. It cannot be swayed by opinions and, once known, can no longer be doubted (It’s impossible to doubt something you know).

This is the peace, the strength, of the martyrs, the ones who sang their way to their deaths in the colosseum and whose blood watered the seed of Christianity for centuries.

The Analogy

The analogy I like to use for this type of peace, in keeping with my serene lake analogy from the previous section, is actually a bible passage that is quite the opposite of our last image. The “Peace of the Spirit”  is the peace that is able to sleep on a tiny boat in the middle of a giant storm.

A violent squall came up and waves were breaking over the boat, so that it was already filling up. Jesus was in the stern asleep on a cushion. – Mark 4:38-38

Jesus could sleep in the boat while everyone around him was shouting and running about and while waves were literally crashing over the sides, probably even getting Him wet. So strong was his conviction, His faith, that He actually rebuked the disciples for waking Him, even though they were “perishing”

“Oh ye of little faith” – Matthew 8:26

He awoke, rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still” The wind ceased and there was great calm (Mark 4:39).

And they were astonished.

Why were they astonished? Didn’t they wake Him up specifically to do something about it? Didn’t they trust that he would/could?

Obviously not enough.

The disciples in this scene do not strike me as particularly peaceful people. Frantic would seem a more appropriate word. But Jesus on the other hand, first sleeping, then rebuking in so few, yet so perfectly poignient words, then His simple command to the seas “Peace, be still”. I can picture it so vividly. So authoritative yet so unthreatening, so in control of every faculty even amidst chaos. So unconcerned about personal peril or even a capsizing boat.

Is this humanly possible?

Um, likely not.  But we are called to the impossible!

And all things are possible with God!

This is why peace is a grace! A gift of the spirit (and not something we are supposed to muster up of our own strength). He gives us this knowledge, this understanding, this wisdom, this CONVICTION that helps us to know which of our options are true, good, and beautiful on every level and inspires our hearts to pursue that with everything we are.

This conviction isn’t just about who God is, or about how to trust Him when our little boats feel like they are being swamped by the waves or when our metaphorical house is being buffeted to the point of blowing away (Matthew 7:24-27).

It is also extended to certainties in our lives that we just cant seem to explain away, logical or not, enjoyable or not, comfortable or not. How you “feel about it” doesn’t really matter here, it all comes down to objective reality, to truth.

It’s almost like a 6th sense. I just need to do this thing (whatever it is) no matter how I feel about it. It is the nudge and the certainty that most people associate with “Calling”.

And that is why we keep asking the question – “Are you at peace about it?” When we are talking about discernment.

Are you at peace about it?

Is it a good question? Yes. Could we possibly answer it correctly? Yes.

BUT,

At this point, could it also be misunderstood, misinterpreted, and misappropriated to justify anything we want as long as we don’t “feel bad” about the alternative?

Also, Yes.

True peace isn’t about how comfortable an action or a decision would be for you to keep living in your perfect world. We need to stop worrying about that and ask ourselves instead:

  • How certain am I of the truth upon which I am basing my decisions?
  • How convicted am I that this is good, right, true, and/or beautiful?
  • How certain am I, over and above my feelings, that this is where I am meant to be or what I am meant to do?

Maybe you don’t know the answer to these, because they are definitely the more difficult question.

This is where Prayer comes in.  This is why the role of the Holy Spirit is so critically important. Without Him we can know nothing (1 Corinthians 12:3)

And so we say:

Come Holy Spirit,

Spirit of Wisdom, Courage, and Truth,

Be my Counselor, my Advocate, my Helper, my clarity, my hope, and my joy.

Give me a passionate desire for all that is good, true, and beautiful, the certainty to make the right choices, and the peace that cannot be shaken.

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Carolyn Pereira