Peace is a word we understand…basically. It’s defined as “a state of mutual harmony between people or groups; freedom of the mind from annoyance, distraction, anxiety, obsession; tranquility; serenity.” Peace!
But understanding the word and experiencing it are two different things. All around us are people who aren’t at peace. Friends and loved ones (maybe even us)—dealing with difficult circumstances, difficult people, difficult concerns. We’re constantly riled up by divisive and incendiary messages we can’t avoid. As the prophet Jeremiah puts it, “…they have seduced my people, saying, ‘Peace!’ when there is no peace” (6:14 and 8:11).
This anxiety and distraction we face is made worse by fear. We’re talking to the children this week about how fear steals our peace. But consider this verse from 2 Timothy 1:7:
For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.
God’s desire is for us not to be fearful, but full of love and self-control.
And there’s another antidote to fear (as the kids are reminded in Journal Entry #7):
Don’t worry about anything; instead, PRAY about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s PEACE, which exceeds anything we can understand. His PEACE will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6‒7)
This week, as much as you can, be intentional about avoiding negative, non-peaceful people and messages in your life. And remember to pray about everything that might be stealing your peace—personally or in your family.
Talk about this:
Re-read Journal Entry #7 in Adventure Calling and talk about how fear can steal our peace. Ask them to think about a time when someone took something that was theirs. (Most will have at least had toys taken from them when playing with a friend.) How did they feel about that? What did they want to do to get that item back?
Remind them that, if we lose our peace (due to fear or anxiety or stress or conflict), God wants to give it back to us. We can ask him for it in prayer!
Are you familiar with the Christmas song, “Let There Be Peace on Earth”? (I’m not sure why it always gets played during the holidays, but it does.) The first line of the song goes this way:
“Let there be peace on Earth, and let it begin with me.”
Pursuing peace on Earth can have a personal (family) application as well as a more global one.
Do something practical to let everyone have an experience of peace in your home. Maybe it’s putting away the electronic devices and basking in the quiet (peace) that ensues. Or doing a puzzle or reading a book. Maybe it’s dealing with a conflict between family members and moving past it. Whatever it is, point out the difference between the experience of peace and the lack of it. Thank God for peace!