PEACE WITH GOD VS. PEACE OF GOD
We've already mentioned that
praying with thanksgiving brings to both our hearts and minds, the
peace of God which defies human explanation. (Phil. 4:6) Of course, this does not refer to those natural and transient concerns that may suddenly come to mind when something goes wrong. Anxiety is a natural and healthy response to threat, and rightly so. Can you imagine how long we would survive without the protection provided by an anxious arousal against threat and danger? Anxiety serves to stimulate both mind and body to peak performance in order to defense against or resolve perceived danger.
But anxiety and stress go hand in hand, with stress being a necessary but unhealthy side effect of the arousal. As such, neither body nor mind can cope with anxiety or its stress over long periods of time. In fact, facilitating anxiety, the arousal which mobilizes and motivates us to resolve the threat, soon turns to debilitating anxiety, which can cripple both mind and body over time. This is the stuff that can cause heart attacks, confused thinking, and clouded emotions including fear, doubt, anger and depression. In short, it's not the life that God wills for His children.
So by taking our problems, concerns and fears to God in
prayer, along with the all important act of
thanksgiving, we are assured of that emotional and cognitive experience the Scriptures call the
peace of God. Having said that, I need to make mention of a very important fact about peace as described in the Bible: you should be aware that, in Scripture, we find two similar phrases about peace: the
Peace of God and
Peace with God. These are two entirely different things and it's important to understand the difference.
As believer, we have found
peace with God once and for all through acceptance of the finished word of Christ on the cross; Romans 5:1 "Therefore being justified by faith, we have
peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ". The enmity that existed between sinful man and a holy God was resolved with the sacrificial death of His only son, therefore bridging the gulf of sin that separated us from Him. So,
peace with God
is the gift offered to any and all who place their faith in Christ's death and resurrection.
On the other hand, the expression
peace of God refers to the emotional and cognitive state experienced by the believer who, by faith, accepts and rests in the promises of God regarding salvation from both the power and penalty of sin.
(See Standing and State) This
peace of God brings us not only a profound sense of emotional tranquility, stability and confidence but, in consequence, gives us balanced perspective in our thought life as well.
Look at the wonderful verse found in II Timothy 1:7 "For God did not give us a spirit of fear, but of power and love and of a sound (balanced) mind. This kind of inner peace allows us to bring all obsessive and fearful thoughts under control as described in II Cor 10:5: "We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ." What a powerful gift God has given us to freely enjoy if we simply plug in all the required components: prayer and supplication with emphasis on "giving thanks" for the answer even before it arrives.