When I joined the student ministry team at North Atlanta as an intern, it did not take long for my co-workers to realize that underneath my exterior is a very competitive spirit. I am so competitive, in fact that I had to remove myself from a group game of dodge ball for the sake of my reputation as an intern. Can you blame me though? I grew up in a generation that loved to measure excellence through awards and affirmation. Culture taught us that to survive we must perform at a greater capacity than those around us. We all desired to stand out for the sake of our individuality. In my case, an outlet to achieve this individuality was club soccer. I loved the atmosphere of sports as you can imagine. I thrived off of competition and adrenaline on game days. Unfortunately, when competition became a priority, so did the importance of my individual success. I took the “team mentality” out of the equation, and you know what they say, “There’s no I in team!”
And you know what? There’s no I in peace either.
Colossians 3:15 “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.
Hebrews 12:14 “Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord.”
Romans 12:18 “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.”
The Greek word for peace is ειρήνη or eiréné. This word eiréné comes from the root word eirō, which literally means, “To join, tie together in a whole.” It’s interesting how even the word itself suggests that peace is a communal act. Philippians tells us the Lord has capability to give us peace that transcends all understanding, but this does not excuse us to be complacent with individual peace. We are called to create peace not only within ourselves but also within our families, our friends, our church body, other denominations, all believers, and even non-believers. Our flesh fights for “worldly” and against Godly peace. Our society tells us there are other ways to find peace:
If I’m silent, there will be peace.
If I submit, there will be peace.
If I withhold my opinion, there will be peace.
If I avoid confrontation, there will be peace.
I always viewed the word peace as one that encompassed joy, contentment, and truly anything that was good. When we deem something to be good, we have the potential to separate it from anything we deem “bad.” I think, maybe, because of the way we have viewed peace, we cannot acknowledge how difficult the path to it may be. The process towards communal peace was not promised to be an easy path; it can be quite messy and very overwhelming.
Sometimes peace means hard conversations.
Sometimes peace means actively regarding another’s opinion.
Sometimes peace means admitting we are wrong.
Sometimes peace means asking God to evaluate our innermost being.
And sometimes peace is simply remembering, “There’s no I in peace.”