I once heard a lecture by Dr. Timothy Keller where he was speaking to students at Wheaton College. In this lecture he referenced a man who had lost his job, and he noted that when the man lost his job, his entire life seemed to fall apart. The problem was not that the man cared deeply about his job, but the issue was that he found his identity in his work. When he lost his career, he lost himself.
When we choose to follow Christ as Lord and Savior, our identity is found in Christ. This means our identity transcends our circumstances. When we lose our job, we do not lose who we are. Being found in Christ means we belong to Him regardless of what happens at work, and as we will see in this article, it means we are a candidate for a peace that is far greater than the troubles of this world.
The Gift of Biblical Peace
If you have been following this series, then you have noticed that each of the nine characteristics of the fruit of the Spirit is the product of surrender to a Spirit-led life. In Galatians 5:22-23, Paul identifies nine characteristics of the fruit of the Spirit: “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control” (ESV). This article focuses on the peace that is available to us when we seek the Spirit’s will in all of life, including our work.
Peace is not something we achieve; it is something we receive. Many people wake up every day and go to work seeking to bring about their own peace. They do this by working harder, reading motivational books, or seeking safety in climbing the corporate ladder. As human beings who have an innate longing for something lasting and eternal, there is nothing this world can offer us that will provide lasting peace. No matter how high we climb in our organizations, we will not find enduring peace in our jobs.
The Power of Biblical Peace
The beauty of biblical peace is that it transcends our jobs. In Philippians 4:6-7, the apostle Paul provides great encouragement for every person who experiences tension at work. He writes,
Do not be anxious about anything, 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 your minds in Christ Jesus.
Notice that Paul implies there will be unsettling times because he exhorts his audience not to be anxious. Then he encourages his listeners by mentioning two characteristics about the peace of God.
First, he states that the peace of God transcends our circumstances. This means that when we lose our job, we do not have to lose our peace. There is a peace available through the Holy Spirit that gives us strength to stand even when we do not understand. One of the greatest opportunities to share our faith is when the peace of God is resting in our hearts and minds as we navigate life’s difficulties. Our world may teach us that we are victims to our surroundings, but the Lord has called us to be peacemakers in the midst of chaos. Chaos and difficulties are guaranteed, but Paul says there is a peace that is greater than these circumstances. When we navigate life’s challenges with the peace of God, unbelievers will take notice because this is not normal in our fragmented culture. Walking in the peace of God will open doors for the gospel because people are desperate for good news.
Second, notice that Paul says the peace of God will guard our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Peace is protection because it requires that we give up trying to figure everything out. When we attempt to discover our own solutions to life’s difficulties, we often make the problem into an even larger mountain. Biblical peace says, “I give up my rights to understand everything, and I choose to trust God instead.” The battle for peace in our minds often centers on whether or not we give up the need to understand everything. There are things in this life we will never understand, but God does. Biblical peace is the gift we receive when we rest in the sufficiency of Christ.
The Prince of Peace
When we go to work tomorrow, let’s not seek to achieve peace but rather let’s receive it. We can ask the Holy Spirit to guard our hearts and minds with the peace of God, and this will relieve us from the need to figure everything out. As we release our need to understand and instead embrace His peace, we will find safety in the sufficiency of Christ. After all, He is the Prince of Peace, and when our identity is found in Christ, so is our peace.