Militant peace is in one sense an oxymoron, yet when understanding the nature of peace you see that it is something that is active and not passive.
In Philippians 4v6-7 Pauls encourages us with words that many have committed to heart.
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
Philippians 4:6-7 NIV
He recognised that we all get anxious, but he knew that wasn’t to be the place we stayed. He had revelation and experience of something beyond anxiety. In his moments of angst he practiced what he preached. He is teaching us about his own prayer life and the experience that he had. He is saying, this works, this really works. I have tried and tested it in my own life and you don’t have to live with anxiety, as you bring your request before God, with thanksgiving, there is a peace that the Lord will give you, it is beyond your natural understanding, it will fill you up and keep you and guard you.
It is this peace that I want to talk about.
This is not the peace that we so often think about in it being an absence of war, it is that, but it is more. It’s an active agent in you that comes against the internal wars and brings resolve. Paul says that it is beyond our understanding in how it works, but it does. As we commit situations to God the active peace of God moves and works in our hearts bringing freedom, deliverance and rest. The tumultuous seas of our minds are calmed with a word from heaven. This is the peace of God. It is an agent of change, a catalyst. It guards us, it is active. Watching, defending, protecting. We can choose to work with the peace or try and resort to our own understanding and give way to worry.
This is not an isolated passage. In the gospels it talks about peacemakers. This again is not something that is passive. It is active and intentional. We sometimes use the word peacekeeper instead. But it doesn’t say peacekeeper, that is someone who doesn’t like conflict and will try and stop an argument and will not bring any challenges to a situation. A peacemaker however is someone who is not afraid of the difficult conversation that is needed because they know the goal is a resolution, not merely smoothing things over.
And again in Ephesians:
“For he himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility,”
Ephesians 2:14 NIV
Here we see Jesus himself described as our peace. Peace is not some external force acting on us, but peace is a person, peace has a name; Jesus. In this passage we see that peace destroys, another oxymoron. Yet when you understand the mission of Jesus is to see His kingdom come and that He will not settle for co-ruling you see a kingdom coming that displaces rulers and authorities and replaces them His reign and rule. We are so used to a worldly war, yet our warring is other worldly. Our weapons are out of this world, in fact, they have divine power to demolish strongholds and arguments and lies that set themselves up against the knowledge of God.
As we start to understand this, seeing peace as an active force, a person in the form of of the King of Kings coming with the clouds of heaven to rule and reign it makes more sense. To see peace as something that guards, as something that destroys now has a context in the mission of Jesus bringing in His kingdom.
So, I want this peace. I want the peace that surpasses understanding. I want to know the one who is the prince of peace. I want to know the peace that destroys the dividing walls. The one who guards my very mind from the niggling jibes of the enemy.