If you read my first post about these wonderful weapons, you may remember that I mentioned peace as a means to exercising the other weapons in our spiritual arsenal, and that is true. Peace is both a means to exercising the other weapons and a weapon in its own right. I think of Bill Johnson's oft-repeated statement, based on Jesus sleeping through the storm: "You only have authority over the storm you can sleep through.” I think as well of Peter sleeping the night before he was supposed to be executed and of Paul and Silas singing in the jail in Philippi. I think of Philippians 4:6-7 where we are told that peace guards our hearts and minds, etc. All of these indicate that peace can be a weapon, both offensive and defensive. Here are some more thoughts about peace.
First, peace is not passivity, it is a deep, settled stillness in the midst of Spirit-directed activity. Passionate peace and peace-filled passion are not oxymorons. God's peace isn't attained by being passive, but by resting in and surrendering to His love and by being infused with His power and by living from His perspective.
Second, peace allows for intensity of purpose and strength of will (I think of Paul's "I press on") while simultaneously preventing one from falling back into human effort/striving. Real peace truly does guard our heart from being troubled in the midst of activity, not just when things are perfectly still around us (if that ever happens!).
Third, peace has to be nurtured, maintained and often recaptured! We listen and surrender (collapse) our way into peace, and we may find it necessary to "collapse" often and seek to be re-infused with God's Spirit by stopping and asking for His Spirit to come and saturate us. Do whatever it takes to practice this, and you will be amazed at how your life and your serving others changes, dear ones!
Fourth, there are several key scriptures that help me in my nurturing peace. Some of these are Psalm 94:17-19, Psalm 27, and Isaiah 26:3 and 30:1. Note well that these serve us best if they are "in us" and not just "with us." In other words, these and similar passages work best if we memorize them and then meditate on them as needed.
Fifth, another way I maintain my peace is that I ask the Holy Spirit to help me constantly monitor my "peace-o-meter." Early on in my journey, Papa told me that whenever I noticed that my peace/inner stillness was gone to stop and do whatever needed to regain it. I have sought to practice that over the years, and it really works. Yes, my peace has been severely tested and often lost, but it's easier today than ever to detect those subtle shifts in my inner being. And the cool thing for me is that God has shifted me from being concerned about being peaceful for personal reasons to monitoring my peace for the sake of others. My peace-o-meter now helps me remain ready to love others well. (Not that I have perfected this, but it's a growing thing). The more peaceful I am, the more I am able to respond to Papa's leadings instead of reacting to the enemy's deceptions. I think you get the picture, eh?
Sixth, peace is an offensive weapon and not just a defensive one. I expect God’s peace in me to invade where I go. I expect His peace in me to not only enable me to use His other weapons but to be a weapon. I expect a "bow wave" of His love and peace to invade places that I go and touch people that I meet. And, of course, as I learn more and more to live in His Presence, in His Peace, the more this actually happens. Try it, you'll like it!
Finally, maintaining my peace means that Holy Spirit and I have to guard what comes into my life. In my case that means that I turn away from things that get me too riled up. It may be weakness on my part, but I simply cannot spend much time paying attention to what the enemy is doing, and that means that I rarely follow the news while also guarding what I watch and listen to, etc. Maybe my life is different than yours, but I generally find that I have enough challenge maintaining my peace without exploring what the enemy is doing via news reports and other sources of negativity. And no, this doesn't mean I ignore things totally, it just means that I listen to Holy Spirit for what I let in :-) I prayed much and continue to pray for friends and others in the Colorado Springs area because I am aware of some very troubling events there even as I write today.
I hope this is helpful. As always, I will probably come back and rewrite this entry a little, so if you read it early on and it's fuzzy, check back later! But my sincere hope and prayer is that He will keep you in perfect peace as you fix your thoughts on Him, and that you will carry a huge "peace-sword" wherever you go.
Learning to live in peace,
Tom, one of Abba's children