John 17 v 14 says “I have given them Your word; and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world”.
In His prayer Jesus addresses the source of the more personal persecutions that threaten our peace. The carnal mind is enmity against God (Romans 8:7), and we can feel this hatred to a potentially terrifying degree when it is aimed directly at us. I remember well the playground days as a young Christian teenager but clearly around the world there is a lot worse. May be you find yourself in the Iron Jaw of conflict? Throughout history, this sort of peace-shattering disturbance has produced job losses, divided families, uprooted lives, imprisonment for those caught (Acts 9:1-2; 12:3-4), and for some martyrdom (Acts 7:54-60; 12:1-2).
Jesus says we can have peace through these kinds of experiences because He can give it to us. When He said this, He was not introducing a new idea. As part of the “blessings and curses chapter,” Leviticus 26:6 shows that God is the ultimate source of peace, and He will give it upon our meeting the condition of obeying His commandments:
“I will give peace in the land, and you shall lie down, and none will make you afraid; I will rid the land of evil beasts, and the sword will not go through your land.”
Here, peace is a quality of life He can give even as he gives rain in due season. Leviticus 26 emphasizes material prosperity as God’s blessing to Israel. Peace is necessary for the material prosperity of a nation.
Should we think that peace is no less necessary to spiritual prosperity? Is it possible for us to grow into the image of God when distracted by conflict and the anxieties and troubles it produces? Even if the conflict is not directly ours, it adversely affects our ability to live God’s way of life. This is why the apostle Paul counsels us as he does in I Timothy 2:1-2:
“Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence”.
Conflict promotes self-centeredness, virtually forcing us to flee, defend ourselves or attack the other to maintain or establish a measure of control. It can also cause us to move away permanently from what we were trying to accomplish.
So let’s pray for the Peace that passes understanding and that it will guard our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.