Bible Reading: Philippians 4:2-9
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the sons of God.” [Matthew 5:9]
The word “peace” is used in many contexts, subject to misunderstanding and therefore needs to be clearly defined. Let’s begin with the dictionary definition of the word peace:
- A quiet tranquility (needs peace to work well); a mental calm; serenity (peace of mind).
- Freedom from or the cessation of war; freedom from civil disorder
- keep the peace: prevent, or refrain from, strife.
- make one’s peace: re-establish friendly relations.
- make peace: bring about peace; reconcile.
- Peacemaker: a person who brings about peace. A person who brings calm and quiet; re-establishes friendly relationships between people brings reconciliation.
In the Biblical sense, peace is not just the negative absence of conflict, but something very positive. The Hebrew word for peace is “shalom” and it speaks of wellbeing and wholeness! In the Hebrew understanding of shalom, it means completeness, wholeness, peace, health, welfare, safety, soundness, tranquility, prosperity, fullness, perfectness, rest, harmony: the absence of agitation and discord. What a remarkable definition of peace and so full of meaning compared with our English word peace!
In Philippians 4:7, the Greek word for peace is the word “eirẽnẽ” [Grk] and speaks of the calmness that a nation enjoys when it has a caring, competent and secure leader. Having this kind of peace means having tranquility in your heart that originates from the understanding that your life is truly in the hands of a loving God. It means to experience quietness in your inner self.
True peace is only found in Jesus Christ. One of His titles is the “Prince of Peace”. True is not something that the world can give you – Jesus said, “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give you; not as the world gives do I give you” [John 14:27]. This peace is supernatural. Philippians 4:7 says, “Which surpasses all understanding.” In simple English, “it doesn’t make sense”. This peace is not dependent upon our circumstances and it is therefore far more than the absence of strife. It is a settled rest, and a sense of security, wellbeing and rightness. According to Philippians 4:7, this peace is protective, in the sense that it guards our hearts and minds.
Why do you think it is important that someone who is a peacemaker must first himself or herself be at peace?
What words in the meaning of the word “shalom” speak particularly to you today and why is this so?