OPINION

The Work of Peace

Sarah Dixon Young

I learned a lot about building when we built our house.

I didn’t know it took so much preparation just to lay the concrete foundation. Weeks of hauling out the trash and debris, smoothing the ground, bringing in loads of fill dirt, and carefully measuring the corners and footers had to happen before one drop of cement was ever poured.

When we say we want peace in our lives, we envision resting from all of our work and soaking up happy feelings and good vibes.

Peace takes work, however.

In the Bible, the word for ‘peace’ often connotes the absence of war. That sounds good, right? But any of us who have been married or had children knows that the absence of war takes work! Roll up your sleeves kind of work!

So, what kind of work can we do to make peace come about in our lives? If we want it bad enough, we might be willing to put in the elbow grease.

Well, the truth is, Peace is fruit of the Holy Spirit. He cultivates it and brings it about in our lives. We can’t make it grow, but we can get the soil ready!

In order to prepare the foundation for peace, the first step is to replace all our anxieties, grumblings, and fears with gratitude.

“Oh give thanks to the Lord, for He is good, for His steadfast love endures forever! Let the redeemed of the Lord say so, whom He has redeemed from trouble!” the Psalmist wrote.

It sounds like an easy first step, but it gets tougher when the rubber meets the road. Just try it for a half of the day. Every time you are tempted to worry or complain, thank the Lord out loud instead. You’ll find that you do a lot more praising than you did the day before! You might even break a sweat!

Secondly, obey the Lord’s commands. If we aren’t following Him in the way He wants us to go, then we will certainly not find peace! If He is the Good Shepherd who leads us beside still waters to green pastures, then we must trust and obey. Again, sounds simple, but actually is quite a work out when we attempt it!

Third, allow God to break your bonds of rebellion. Ouch. You might not consider yourself a rebel, but every time you turn to those fake peace-givers like marijuana, entertainment, or medication, you are rebelling. You are resisting the very peace-growing efforts of the Holy Spirit! You are willingly holding your hands out for the handcuffs of bondage. We must repent and allow God to break those bonds of rebellion!

Finally, we must trust God and worship Him. When our focus is on Jesus instead of on our circumstances, we begin to feel the real, lasting growth of peace in our hearts and lives. The foundation has been laid, and there is an absence of war!

Choose to do the prep work so that you can enjoy the fruit of peace!

Want to participate in a 30 Days of Peace in Christ Challenge? Find short daily devotionals from Sarah Dixon Young at www.facebook.com/SarahDixonYoung or subscribe to her youtube channel at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC6reLn1Fntj5IGgDByOKiQA

K. William Boyer is the Managing Editor of the Devils Lake News Journal. He can be reached at kboyer@gannett.com, or by phone at (701) 662-2127.  

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