Do you have personal peace – peace with God, peace with family and friends, peace of mind? Peace is one of the great quests of mankind! For those who know God through faith, personal peace is mentioned as one of the fruits of the spirit (Galatians 5:22) that he desires us to have.
Is it true? Can somebody who is a Christian have personal peace? We explored this topic in a study performed in Bartlesville, OK at Grace Community Church (1). On one Sunday, at two services, we asked the adult population to complete a questionnaire regarding different aspects of their wellbeing including peace as well as their adherence to the practice of their faith.
How did we define adherence to faith? From the Bible we delineated the following as ‘adherence to faith’ if: they proclaimed to be a Christian through personal faith in Jesus Christ and His sacrifice on the cross as a free gift of salvation; they were secure in their salvation; and they frequently utilized the five tools to maturity in their lives (prayer, praise, faith, reaching out and growing in knowledge of scripture) (Acts 2:42,47; Ephesians 2:8-9; Romans 3:23-26; 1 Peter 1:4-5; John 10:27-30).
The results of the survey showed on a visual analog scale of 0-6 the average level of peace was 1.8 for the entire congregation (0 being most and 6 being least) – not bad! However, when we separated the congregation into groups based on adherence to faith there was a highly significant difference between groups with the more adherent group having greater peace!
What explains the finding? Well we don’t know for certain, but four potential reasons come to mind.
- First, the practice of Christianity causes us to focus on a higher being that has purposes higher than our own. This focus may make help take our mind away from our own anxious thoughts.
- Second, the adherence to the practice of Christianity provides for prayer to an accepting great high priest, Jesus Christ, who cares for our every time and need.
- Third, we know knowledge is power. Christianity furnishes an excellent text, the Bible, which teaches us the truths about God so we know how to think of ourselves correctly and do not believe lies about God.
- Lastly, Christianity urges us to reach out and touch others within our faith and to provide community service. Consequently, this helps us not to concentrate on our own anxieties and issues (2).
How can I get peace? Make sure you are a Christian and know that your sins have been forgiven freely by faith in Christ. You then should realize that God accepts you and this great salvation cannot be taken away. Practicing your faith balanced between the five tools of maturity mentioned above will help build the mindset and practices which the Spirit can use to build peace. It takes time and commitment, but you can do it. The fruits are there and blessings beyond measure.
- MacIlvaine WR, Nelson LA, Stewart JA, Stewart WC. Association of strength of religious adherence to quality of life measures. Complement Ther Clin Pract 2013;19:251-255.
- MacIlvaine WR, Nelson LA, Stewart JA, Stewart WC. Association of strength of community service to personal wellbeing. Community Ment Health J 2014;50:577-582.