A Paradox of Peace and Will

Photo credit: www.lightstock.com I've posted about mindfulness for the past couple weeks. A primary goal of mindfulness, whether one approaches it from a secular or biblical view, is obtaining peace. Peace of mind.

Peace of mind may be temporary, circumstantial, or artificial. But what if... peace went deeper than the mind? What if... inner peace was constant?

Sound too good to be true?

A plethora of paradoxes

Plenty of paradoxes exist in this life, sometimes we call them Catch-22's or oxymorons. There are real and humorous paradoxes. Here's a few—

Out of the frying pan and into the fire. Between a rock and a hard place. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. (common expressions)

I know that I know nothing at all. (a Socratic paradox)

Work makes freedom. (infamous sign over the entrances to the Dachau and Auschwitz concentration camps)

If God is all-mighty, can He create a rock so big that even He can't lift it? (quasi-theological)

Peace through relationship

So, let me add another one—true peace is the result of a disciplined life. In a sense, this was the gist of my post last week.

I don't mean the discipline used when correcting behavior, as with children. Nor the regimen of diet and fitness disciplines. These are useful, but are the result of exerting self-will.

The peace of God is His to give, we don't have to seek or pursue it (John 14:27). How do we get it? We get Him (John 16:33). (Tweet or Share this)

The peace of God is gained and retained through relationship, not effort. It isn't produced by a process or a person's efforts. (Tweet or Share this)

So, why are there times when God's peace seems to fade or be absent? Here's a hint—the problem is not with God, nor His peace.

Peace through discipline

As mentioned in my last post, the peace and focus of mindfulness requires us to make some choices in life and take certain actions. But there's a different kind of discipline needed when it comes to God's peace.

The discipline needed for God's peace is not an exertion of self-will, but a surrender of our self-will to God. (Tweet or Share this)

Many seeming paradoxes can be found in the Bible, some people see them as contradictions. Yet, these apparent paradoxes express the spiritual tension that exists in genuine faith. I guess you could say faith is somewhat a paradox, because—

Faith in God is implicit trust in someone we cannot see with our eyes. (Heb 11:6)

Consider a statement made in the book of Hebrews, "So we must make every effort to enter that place of rest" (Heb 4:11). "Make every effort...?" Doesn't that sound like work? How could rest be the result of effort?

Surrender, not self-effort

My wife and I saw the Son of God movie this weekend. We liked it. At first, when seeing previews, I wasn't sure I liked the actor chosen to play Jesus, but watching it changed my mind. He expressed what I believe Jesus exemplified—an inner peace, yet with a full range of emotions.

Again, it has to do with the surrender of self-will, what Jesus also called self-denial (Matt 16:24). It's what we see Jesus demonstrating in the garden of Gethsemane (Matt 26:39, 42, 44).

So, experiencing the peace of God is the result of a disciplined life—a discipline of surrender to God. (Tweet or Share this)

Paradoxes or parallel truths?

The Bible is full of similar paradoxes, at least to our finite way of thinking, but we need to see them as a whole, not as individual opposing truths.

The Bible isn't a bunch of random truths we search to find what we need in life. It is the revealed and written truth of God. (Tweet or Share this) The Scriptures are a revelation of God and how He interacts with His creation, including us humans. (John 5:39-40)

We need to read or listen to the Scripture as God speaking to us in a personal way, by His Spirit. (Tweet or Share this)

Here are some more encouraging words about God's peace—

You, Lord, give true peace to those who depend on you, because they trust you. (Isaiah 26:3 NCV)
Now that we have God’s approval by faith, we have peace with God because of what our Lord Jesus Christ has done. (Romans 5:1 GW)
And God’s peace, which is so great we cannot understand it, will keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:7 NCV)
Also, let Christ’s peace control you. God has called you into this peace by bringing you into one body. Be thankful. (Colossians 3:15 GW)