“Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Phil 4:4-7
My pastor recently defined the word peace in a way I had not heard it before. We all think of peace as a quality that is absent of anxiety, and that is certainly true. But my pastor defined the word as wholeness and it caught my attention. So I began to study.
The word peace in Philippians 4:7 is eirene. Its from the word eiro which means to join. Eirene then is defined as oneness, quietness, rest, (and my favorite) to set at one again.
Its the same word that Jesus uses with the lady who was healed of the issue of blood when He tells her, “Your faith has made you well. Go in peace.” He says the exact same thing to the woman who pours the alabaster jar of oil upon the Lord’s feet and wipes them with her tears as the Pharisees watch in disgust because of the “kind” of woman that she has been labeled. There simply are no greater words to hear from the Lord than these: “Your faith has made you well. Go in peace.” What is He is saying? According to the definition of peace, He is saying this…Because you have placed your trust in the precious Lamb of God, I have put the shattered pieces of your life back together again. Go forward and enter My rest.
Peace is more than just a calm, tranquil feeling. Peace is the tangible expression of the benefits of heaven worked out in a believer’s life, and it does something…it surpasses all understanding. As a matter of fact, trying to attain peace through my own understanding will surely negate the possibility. What do I mean by that? All the whys we ask when the trials and temptations have grown so burdensome that we are left feeling wounded, dejected, crushed are simply a means of keeping the wounds alive. It is not until we stop asking why, and we simply surrender ourselves to the Father’s care that we can appropriate the entirety of our passage above. Rejoice always…be anxious for nothing…and pray with thanksgiving.
So why do we see such a lack of peace in so many of God’s people? Well, for one, this Christian walk is a battle as we take hold of the fullness of all that Christ has done for us. It is appropriated by faith as we walk out our journey toward home. But, we are also living in a time where the message of the Gospel is not always clear. We find the same in Jeremiah’s time. The weeping prophet who went through so much as He faithfully delivered the message that the Lord had given him said this in Jeremiah 6:13-14, “For from the least to the greatest of them, everyone is greedy for unjust gain; and from prophet to priest, everyone deals falsely. They have healed the wound of my people lightly, saying, “Peace, peace, when there is no peace.”
Isaiah 57 declares those that will find peace are those who are lowly and contrite in spirit. Those that will repent of their unjust ways will hear the Lord speak these words, “Peace, peace to the far and to the near.” But he goes on to say that, “There is no peace, says my God, for the wicked.”
The word for wicked in the Old Testament is Ra. It simply means something twisted and not being used as it was originally designed. The truth of the Gospel is this; we have all fallen short of the glory of God. Every human life has become twisted and is not being used in the way that God has originally intended because of the sin that runs through the core of our beings. There is only one way to the peace of God. It starts by being washed in the precious blood of the lamb. Truly our peace has been granted at that very point, but for it to be completely appropriated, it requires something.
Our two ladies show us the way. Both of them pressed through a crowd of people who did not think they belonged among them. One had been ostracized because of her illness. She had given all she had in an attempt to find her healing, but to no avail. She had been considered unclean and could not reside with the others. One had been considered sinful and immoral and therefore not worthy of mercy and certainly anyone with a sense of respectability could not be seen with her, much less, allow her to touch them. And yet, they pressed through the fear of rejection and the vain ideas of man and placed their complete trust in the only one who could offer them the deep need of their soul…peace, wholeness, rest.
In both cases it was found. But I find it interesting that those who were simply curious, did not find that peace. Nor did those that were not willing give up everything to find it. The one thing that both of these women had in common was a desperation to be well no matter the cost. And what did they receive? Peace…their souls were set as one again. “Go in peace daughter, your faith has made you well.”