August 1, 2019

Five Levels of Personal Peace

While no ultimate peace exists in this world, we are invited to enter this spiritual realm in our Christian walk.

Delbert W. Baker

Ellen White once wrote about a “region of peace,” a realm of trust and harmony with God. It sounds inviting. Who wouldn’t want to live in such a place? While no ultimate peace exists in this world, we are invited to enter this spiritual realm in our Christian walk.

Notice Ellen White’s words: “When we believe in Christ as our personal Savior, the peace of Christ is ours. . . . Entering into communion with our Saviour, we enter the region of peace.”*

To reach this privileged region, we are challenged to ascend to multiple levels of peace. Here are five:

An Intellectual Peace: This is a rational understanding of peace. It is relief from fear, anxiety, and stress. This peace can also refer to inner peace or peace with God, but it is only cerebral; no commitment or action has taken place. It is head knowledge, as opposed to heart (commitment) or hand (action) activity.

While no ultimate peace exists in this world, we are invited to enter this spiritual realm in our Christian walk.

Our task: to recognize our need of divine peace and put forth efforts to secure it.

A Given Peace: This peace is given supernaturally from God and is characterized by oneness between God and humanity. It has been effected by Christ’s sacrificial death on the cross (Col. 1:20). As we respond to God’s at-one-ment with love and obedience, this peace connection is maintained by Christ, our high priest. He intercedes on behalf of all who “come to God through him” (Heb. 7:25). This is conversion and is a prerequisite for the next level of peace.

Our Task: to come to Christ by faith, prayer, and a daily walk with Him.

A Learned Peace: The Bible says we will be kept in “perfect peace” if our minds are “steadfast” in God (Isa. 26:3).This represents the powerful cooperative-collaborative divine/human principle. God gives us His peace. By cooperating with the Holy Spirit, we choose to focus our minds on Him continually. Our peace of mind is perfect, or imperfect, based on the degree to which our minds are focused on God rather than ourselves or our problems. We resolutely believe in God’s providence and purpose for our lives (Ps. 139:1-12).

Our Task: to maximize our peace with God into the perfect peace of God.

An Operational Peace: When we allow the Spirit of God to rule our lives, we experience His peace and become peacemakers (Matt. 5:9). We bring life-giving peace to others (Rom. 8:6). With His peace, we pursue and reflect interpersonal peace with others (Rom. 12:18), and become publishers of peace (Isa. 52:7) and ministers of reconciliation (2 Cor. 5:18).

Our Task: to internalize God’s peace and become agents of interpersonal peace with others.

A Habitual Peace: The four previous levels result in a state of peaceful trust in God (Rom. 8:31-39). We now come to the point in which we know that all things work for good because we love God (Rom. 8:28). Even God’s discipline results in our good (Heb. 12:11). This sanctifying peace results in our “eternal glory” (2 Cor. 4:17).

Our Task: to make it the goal of our walk with Christ to reach and reside in this fifth level.

May we reside in the region of peace.

* Ellen G. White, in Advent Review and Sabbath Herald, May 19, 1896.

Delbert W. Baker is vice chancellor of Adventist University of Africa, near Nairobi, Kenya.