“Let the peace of Christ [the inner calm of one who walks daily with Him] be the controlling factor in your hearts [deciding and settling questions that arise]. To this peace indeed you were called as members in one body [of believers]. And be thankful [to God always].” (Col 3:15, AMP)
Churches that I attended growing-up would, occasionally, end their worship services with “The Passing of the Peace”. In this custom, if you are unfamiliar, a person turns to you and says, “The Peace of Christ be with you…”. With a handshake you reply, “…and also with you.” Call me anti-social but I feel awkward giving this ill-defined, 2000 year old greeting to complete strangers! Personally, I’ve never been a fan of shallow coercion like, “Please, bow your heads to pray.” Or, “Will someone give me an ‘Amen’”. Or, “Raise your hands in joyful praise.”
Christ’s Peace is a determined attitude! It’s not shallow Christian-speak for, “Hi, how are you. I’m fine, thanks.” Peace (whether “shalom” in the Old Testament or eirēnē in the New Testament) is an attitude of wholeness, harmony, wellbeing and tranquility amidst the chaos of the world. Jesus’ peace takes wellbeing to a level that dismisses worldly counterfeits like sex, drugs and vanity. Jesus said,“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” (Jn 14:27, NIV)
Paul cites nine spiritual fruit in his letter to the church in Galatia. (Gal 5:22-23) Peace is one of them. Growing peace, like any of the nine fruit, is attitude+commitment. Peace is a resolution! Check the soil. Water. Fertilize. Weed. Dust for bugs. Spray for fungi … and more. Paul urges peaceful hutzpah in the third chapter of his letter to the Church as Colossae. He writes, “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.” (Col 3:15, NIV, emphasis added) In short, Jesus’ peace rules when we test and take captive counterfeit alternatives that undermine His peace.
Peace that Rules: In her book, Switch on Your Brain, Dr Caroline Leaf unfolds how scripture, free-will and thoughts drive brain function. Brain function energizes our body. As man is created in God’s image, so man creates thoughts that can purify or poison his body. We choose the peace that Jesus envisioned; or not. Leaf’s research shows how our God-given, free-will filters our reactions to circumstances. Filtered thoughts drive brain behavior and impact physical health. Prayer, Biblical truth and God’s Spirit teach us to focus on God’s character, promises and faithfulness despite worldly chaos and the enemy’s lies. Choosing is ruling! We can choose to accept the enemies lies or we can choose to trust God’s plan. “Now faith is the assurance (title deed, confirmation) of things hoped for (divinely guaranteed), and the evidence of things not seen [the conviction of their reality—faith comprehends as fact what cannot be experienced by the physical senses].” (Heb 11:1, AMP)
If God’s advice was simply “be happy”, then our story would stop here. It is not! God’s power and plan have nothing to do with idiotic sayings like, “Every day in every way, it’s getting better and better”. We choke on mindless lies that tell us, in words of Bobby Ferrin’s 1988 happiness anthem, “Don’t Worry, Be Happy.” By contrast, God gave us the tools needed to choose Christ’s peace. Action, however, is needed for it to happen. Prayer centers our thoughts. Scripture shows us God’s character. His Spirit reminds us of His faithfulness. We opt for Christ’s peace,“…for as he thinks in his heart, so is he [in behavior—one who manipulates]. (Prov 23:7, AMP, emphasis added)
Think about God’s instruction to the Roman Christians, “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” (Rom 12:2, NIV, emphasis added) “Thinking” is an action. “Renewing” is an action. The “Mind of Christ” creates the “Peace of Christ” when godly thoughts rule our brain chemistry, proteins, hormones and DNA strings for conscious and unconscious action. Dr Leaf writes, “God has given us the power to create: this creative force can become good or evil through our choices.” (Switch on Your Brain, p130, emphasis added)
We serve an amazing God. The chaos of Covid challenges my resolve, over and again, to remain focused on what is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent and praiseworthy to create the Peace of Christ. God redeemed us by the power of His Son. God heals us from the toxicity of sin by the fruit of His Spirit.
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. (Phil 4:8, NIV, emphasis added)
 Dr Caroline Leaf is a communication pathologist and audiologist. She works, publishes and lectures in cognitive neuroscience with a specialty in traumatic brain injury. Dr Leaf goal is to help people understand links between science and Scripture to control thoughts, emotions and behavior.