Welcome to our final week of study about growing in peace. This week we’ll look at how to find peace in the midst of conflicts.
“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 NKJV).
This week all Scripture will be woven into our lesson. To read, please click on each New Testament reference below.
“BE ANXIOUS FOR NOTHING…”
“‘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 NKJV).
The peace of God is not absent from conflicts. When Jesus walked the earth with His disciples, He taught this lesson over and over. His followers were convinced that Messiah had come to establish peace on earth as King of Israel.
Conflict with His disciples
Little by little, Jesus disclosed the future to His disciples. But Peter especially rejected the Teacher’s words.
“From that time Jesus began to show to His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised the third day.Then Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him, saying, ‘Far be it from You, Lord; this shall not happen to You!’ But He turned and said to Peter, ‘Get behind Me, Satan! You are an offense to Me, for you are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men’” (Matthew 16:21-23 NKJV).
The disciples reacted to Jesus’s arrest and crucifixion with incredible surprise despite the many times He had told them what would happen. In addition to His death, He also spoke plainly of His resurrection: “Now while they were staying in Galilee, Jesus said to them, ‘The Son of Man is about to be betrayed into the hands of men, and they will kill Him, and the third day He will be raised up.’ And they were exceedingly sorrowful” (Matthew 17:22-23 NKJV).
The proof of His deity as the Son of God always brought them to their knees in reverent worship and praise, both before and after His death and resurrection.
- Click HERE to read about finding peace in the storm.
- When the disciples couldn’t cast out demons the way Jesus had taught them, everyone despaired until Jesus revealed the remedy. Click HERE to read the story.
- Click HERE to read about Doubting Thomas.
The disciples were anxious about many things. No matter the trials they had to endure during three years of ministry with the Lord, they always ran back to Jesus and experienced peace in His presence.
“BUT IN ALL THINGS THROUGH PRAYER…”
Jesus continually prayed to the Father, especially in the early morning. We know that Jesus was the Son of God. So why was it necessary for Christ to pray if He and the Father were One?
As Christ demonstrated, prayer was of the utmost importance in His relationship with the Father. His prayer life is a model for us to follow. This pattern shows exactly how to commune with God and have a personal relationship with Him.
- The Lord’s Prayer: The disciples asked Jesus to teach them how to pray. This beautiful prayer of peace is still our model today. Click HERE to read.
- Prayer for peace in terrible, sudden tragedy: Jesus didn’t intervene in John the Baptist’s fate, but He reacted to John’s death by praying alone all night and then feeding the five thousand the next day. Click HERE to read.
- Prayer for peace in the midst of betrayal in the Garden of Gethsemane: We see Christ’s humanity as Jesus prepared to suffer and go to the cross. He asked for God’s will, not His, to be done. He sweat drops of blood in prayer while an angel came to minister to Him, strengthening Him. Click HERE to read.
What does supplication mean? According to Merriam-Webster, it means:
- To make a humble entreaty;
- Especially in prayer to God;
- To ask humbly and earnestly.
Are our prayers humble? Earnest? Do we have an attitude of humility as we approach God’s throne with our requests? I can hear most of you respond with a resounding YES.
“WITH THANKSGIVING, LET YOUR REQUESTS BE MADE KNOWN TO GOD;”
But what about thanksgiving? Are our hearts appreciative toward God—even when His answer may be contrary to what we’re asking? That’s hard, isn’t it, when God says NO. Mature adults may suddenly turn into spoiled and entitled children, demanding their way, stubbornly asking, Why not? Or, I want it NOW, not later! Worse, some may be angry at God and turn their backs to Him. All of these reactions are wrong.
Thanksgiving means being thankful and accepting God’s answer, no matter what it is. He knows what’s best for us and will always rule in our best interest. He sees the big picture through the binoculars of eternity while we can only see a tiny corner of the present.
An Example of Thanksgiving…
One good example in Scripture is the story of Lazarus. Although Mary and Martha were extremely disappointed that Jesus had not arrived soon enough to heal their sick brother, they still accepted the fact that he was dead and thankfully would be alive again in the resurrection. They had no idea that Jesus would shortly present Lazarus alive, causing their thankfulness to skyrocket. (Click HERE to read about it during our Week 12 study or HERE to read it in Scripture.)
“AND THE PEACE OF GOD, WHICH SURPASSES ALL UNDERSTANDING, WILL GUARD YOUR HEARTS AND MINDS THROUGH CHRIST JESUS.”
Jesus left us with a marvelous gift—PEACE. But not the kind the world gives. It’s a gift we receive when we ask Jesus to forgive our sins and become our Savior. A supernatural peace lives inside us, not something contingent on our circumstances. It’s how…
- a person can attend the funeral of a friend or loved one but feel peace through the sorrow and tears.
- we can hear a dreaded health report but know “all is well with my soul.”
- we can regard a pink slip with the acceptance that the Lord has a better plan around the corner and trust Him with our finances.
- our personal lives can take an unexpected turn for the worse, but we trust God for a good future.
Peace is the anchor of our souls. Although life’s winds and waves try to capsize our boats, Jesus comes to us, walking on the water. He speaks to the storm. “Peace. Be still.” He climbs into our boats and we fall to our knees in worship. He is in control, not our circumstances. We can trust Him completely.
As Jesus walks with us, we walk in His peace. It is well with our souls.
Do you have Christ’s peace in the midst of conflicts?
Let’s conclude this month of study about peace with the famous hymn by Horatio G. Spafford. After losing his children, Spafford found salvation in Jesus. He composed this beautiful hymn, “It is Well with My Soul,” to testify to his salvation in Christ through the good and bad times of life.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for being our peace in the midst of conflicts. May we pray without ceasing and humbly give you thanks for guiding our lives through both good times and bad. May Your peace dwell richly in our souls today and always. In Jesus’s Name, Amen.