[This is chapter 9 of the subject, “How God Guides.” Admittedly this is principle, out of them all, might be taken advantage of or misconstrude most. Nevertheless, I really like God’s peace, especially when it confirms to me that I’m in the middle of, or somewhere close to, his will.]
It seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us. Acts 15:28
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him… Romans 15:13
Peace and mercy to all who follow this rule. Galatians 6:16
Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times and in every way 2 Thessalonians 3:16
Paul tells us to “Let the peace of God be an umpire in our hearts” (Colossians 3:15). God’s peace applied to our heart at a given moment is one of his ways of letting us know if we’re on track or not. Like an “umpire,” God’s peace will call us safe or out! It helps us decide which course is the right course and which is wrong.
I know that this is a pretty subjective means of guidance. What does “peace” feel like anyway? Could the peace I’m feeling at the moment be the result of something other than the Holy Spirit confirming a certain marching order? Could a “good day at the office,” a nice meal, or a warm fire give me a similar feeling of peacefulness? So watch it! I think the more mature we are in our faith, the more accurate our “peace-detector” might be. Nevertheless, especially with large decisions, this is no stand-alone guide.
I can only speak for myself on what this peace “feels like” to me. At its basest level, peace means “a lack of conflict.” When I’m feeling peace about something, I’m feeling no clash or struggle inside my mind or emotions. This guidance indicator of peace is nothing if it’s not the opposite of an inner turmoil. If I’m asking Jesus for direction about something, and I feel more conflicted about it than at peace, I get the distinct impression that he might not be into it. But if when praying about something, confusion or turbulence subsides (instead of increases), I might be on to something.
Since none of these guidelines stands alone, let’s go back to earlier ones for some checks and balances. For instance, take notice of the next part of the verse to which we just referred, “Let the peace of God be an umpire…” Right after that he wrote, “…to which you were called into one Body…” I think he’s reminding us that a sense of the peace of God is not a substitute for checking with our mature Jesus-following friends (other parts of the “Body of Christ”). Since it’s all too easy to “get a peace” about what we want to do, especially in big issues we should remember to check with someone who knows us and knows the Lord well. Of course, remember that our first stop is in the Bible and that “Garmin” doesn’t send us on an illegal route (so you can eliminate anything that God prohibits from the list of possibilities). So, if you “feel a peace” about some particular direction in your life, be certain that you don’t have to ignore the clear Word of God (the rules of the road) in order to take that route.