Many of us like to receive gifts! No matter how large or small the gift may be, often the most important thing is that someone thought of us. We cherish the gifts we receive. We display the gifts we receive. We wear the gifts we receive. Some of us even drive the gifts we receive. But if someone tried to take your gift away, how would you respond? Regardless of the size or value of the gift, I believe we would take some action to protect or secure what rightfully belonged to us.
If the thought of losing a gift from man stirs a reaction in us to protect and secure, then why do we so freely give up our gift from our Father? “What gift,” you may ask?
In John 14:27, Jesus tells us, “I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart! And the peace I give isn’t fragile like the peace the world gives. So don’t be troubled or afraid.”
One of the most common things I use to let rob me of my peace were the actions of others or the lack thereof. Family making bad decisions regarding their health. Friends making unwise decisions in relationships. People making irresponsible financial decisions yet expecting to be bailed out every time. Seeing people we love headed down the wrong road is heartbreaking and can be frustrating. Even morning traffic can sometimes steal our peace. We yell and blow our horns. Some of us even communicate nonverbally by way of hand gestures….you know what I mean. What I have come to realize is the emotions we exude are often a result of us not taking action to protect or secure one of the most precious gifts given to us…Our Peace.
So what does peace really mean? As I searched the internet for meanings of the word, I found peace defined as a state of tranquility or calmness, freedom from quarrels and disagreement, serenity. One definition uncovered the Hebrew word, shalom, which I have always understood to be a synonym for peace. But as I dug deeper, I began to understand to a greater degree the gift Jesus left us. Shalom transcends just having peace. It is a complete peace. A peace that brings contentment, wholeness, well being, and harmony. Now that’s a peace worth protecting!
People laugh at me when I tell them I protect my peace. But I do. It is an intangible endowment left to me by my Father and I don’t take it lightly. Once we learn our peace cannot be predicated on people, places, situations, or circumstances, but that it is internal, we will begin to guard our gift. We will recognize that its value is priceless.
I challenge you today and in the days ahead to defend, guard, look after, care for, and protect your peace.