Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. (John 14: 27)
As I considered what to prepare that would be appropriate and timely for this day we are living in, I was drawn to the topic titled, “The Peace of God”. My thoughts took me where, in my mind’s eye, I could see my surroundings and identify many of the sources of contention and strife that can distract our hearts and minds; our hurried pace of life, social media, politics, failing relationships, society’s ever-changing values, and life cycle changes, to list just a few I thought of that have a potential to invoke or bring contention and strife into our lives.
We must keep in mind, when we consider the root source of contention and strife, the words of Christ:
For verily, verily I say unto you, He that hath the spirit of contention, is not of me, but is of the devil, which is the father of contention, and he stirreth up the hearts of men to contend with anger one with another;
Behold, this is not my doctrine, to stir up the hearts of men with anger one against another; but this is my doctrine, that such things should be done away. (3 Nephi 5:30-31)
Satan uses contention and strife as tools to take our focus off Jesus Christ in an attempt to destroy “the peace of God, which passeth all understanding” within us. The plan of God was designed for all generations, no matter what trials may be placed before them, to have power over Satan through the strength of His only begotten son, Jesus Christ. Each generation must confront their trials with faith, putting their trust in the words of Christ when he said over 2,000 years ago:
These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world. (John 16:33)
I am reminded of the great trial of faith that the disciples of Christ had to exercise at the time of His death. Jesus tried to prepare His disciples for when He would no longer be with them in the flesh. Jesus told them that they should not allow their hearts to “be troubled”, to “believe also in me” as they believed in God, and that His “Father’s house” had “many mansions,” where He would be going soon “to prepare a place” for them to be together again. Those words of Christ were spoken to bring comfort and peace to the hearts of His disciples during that great trial of their faith when Christ would be offered up on the cross according to the plan of God for the redemption of all mankind.
Moroni also spoke of the trial of faith his forefathers went through, as an example of that same faith it takes to stay true in our belief in Jesus Christ.
Wherefore, dispute not because ye see not, for ye receive no witness until after the trial of your faith, for it was by faith that Christ shewed himself unto our fathers, after that he had risen from the dead; (Ether 5:7)
Jesus continued by reminding His disciples that if they loved Him they were to “keep my commandments,” with the promise they would receive “another Comforter” that would be their constant companion, to “abide with you forever”. This “Comforter,” or “Spirit of truth” would not be given to “the world,” but only to those who would keep the commandments Jesus had given them and taught by example, such as baptism with water, “to fulfill all righteousness”. This “Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost,” would be sent by the Father in the name of Jesus Christ to those who would enter into a covenant with God; through repentance, then by entering into the waters of baptism for the remission of sins, and through the laying on of hands (Acts 8:16-17; Moroni 2:2), thus obeying the commandments of God. The specific purpose of this “Comforter” would be an integral (essential, or necessary for completeness) part residing within you to “teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance” that Christ had taught; things you have read and studied in the Word of God as found in the Bible and Book of Mormon.
The “Comforter” or “Holy Ghost” that resides in us, is what settles our soul or spirit, where we can experience the peace of God in our everyday walk of life, no matter what the trial or circumstances we face. We are able to walk in confidence that, no matter the outcome, if God is with us we can overcome all the trials that life can throw at us.
Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the LORD thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest. (Joshua 1:9)
The definition found in Miriam-Webster for “peace” is the state of tranquility or quiet: as a state of security or order within a community provided for by law or custom keeping peace. The Greek definition for the word “peace,” as quoted in John 14:27, is “eirēnē (i-rah’-nay),” which is a verb to join; one, peace, quietness, rest, set at one again. Both definitions describe the plan that our Father in heaven has provided for each of us to enjoy, and to be a recipient of through our faith in His Son Jesus Christ, the “Only Begotten of the Father” (John 1:14, 2 Nephi 11:21).
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. (John 3:16)
The plan of God is for us to become one with the Father and His Son, and that by doing so we can have peace in this world. The peace of God comes only with having that close relationship with our God through Jesus Christ. Again, this does not mean that we will be free from the trials of this life; however, the Holy Ghost that is abiding within us reassures us, “with our spirit, that we are the children of God,” thus “heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ” (Romans 8:16-17).
That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ: (1 Peter 1:7)