Have you ever felt so overwhelmed and hopeless that it seems like your world is collapsing? It can often feel like there’s little hope to go around. The planet is dying, people are spreading hate like wildfire and bad things are constantly happening to good people. With times like these, it can feel impossible to rest and escape the chaos. Once we’re stressed, those negative emotions can rule our day. Stress can make us anxious and irritable to the point where we unintentionally take it out on those around us; then, no one has a good day.
Thankfully, as Christians, we have access to ultimate peace, even when life is chaotic. By training ourselves, we can fight stress by trusting God and praying instead of panicking. Through relying on the Lord, it can be much easier to feel at peace and inspire those around us. Here are four ways to embrace peace in your life and encourage it in the lives of others.
Whether you’re praying with someone, or for someone, prayer has a massive amount of power. When we pray, we have the God of the entire universe listening. For God, no problem is too big or too small. We can pray for peace for both friends and strangers, and ask for clarity in their lives. When we pray for others, we are actively loving our neighbor, which God honors. He actually wants us to pray for others.
In Ephesians 6:18, he calls us to “… pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people” (italics added for emphasis). In this verse, Paul illustrates to the church of Ephesus the importance of prayer and provides us a beautiful example for how we should pray on behalf of others.
Encouraging one another doesn’t always have to look like a thought-out piece of advice. Sometimes, it can be listening and letting them know you support them. It can also be a simple sentence like, “I’m praying for you,” or “Let me know if there’s anything you need.”
When thinking of ways to encourage others, I like to reference their love languages to show them love in an effective way. Whether it’s acts of service, quality time or giving gifts, there are beautiful ways to encourage others and bring them peace of mind. Whatever you say or do, your friends will feel that shared peace, knowing they can rely on you.
Fruit of the Spirit
In Galatians 5, Paul expresses the hope Christ can give when we choose to pursue the fruit of the Spirit instead of our earthly desires. He says, “The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God” (Galatians 5:19-21). These “acts of flesh” describe a life of disruption. Even though that lifestyle can feel happy for a moment, ultimately it leaves us feeling dissatisfied.
However, Christ offers hope for those who may feel their life is going in a downward spiral. Paul continues, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no law” (Galatians 5:22-23). Through these verses, Paul is illustrating the beauty of surrender. Nothing we can do on our own will purify us or bring us peace. No matter how hard we try, we will always fail. Christ is the only one who can save us from our sin and destruction, and the only one who can give us ultimate peace. He can quench those addictions and desires of the flesh so we can know what it is to be content in all circumstances, rather than temporarily happy in some.
I had one friend who was a ray of sunshine. She always tried to meet people’s needs and spread love to those around her. She practiced simple acts of generosity and kindness until they were a part of her character. Her presence and her influence literally brought me peace. This shows that the way we act and treat people can do wonders for how they view us as Christians.
When we love first, display the fruit of the Spirit, and model Christ-like behavior, it piques the interest of others. They think, “Why is this person so calm in these trying times?” They become intrigued and inspired to learn more. They may want to spend more time around you, imitate you and even ask you about this peace. Even if they aren’t interested in hearing the gospel, they may still feel encouraged and at peace seeing your shining influence around them.
In conclusion, our world is dark, and can often feel hopeless. And with times such as these, it’s easy to feel helpless. But Jesus is called the Prince of Peace for a reason: He brought peace to the world in one of its darkest times. By directing people to Him and living life with Christ-like qualities, we too can spread peace and be stewards for Christ. Our words, actions and responses to situations can vastly impact those around us. What we do does make a difference in this world, and we have the power to make it a better, more peaceful place.