The following is adapted by permission from “I Choose Peace: How to Quiet Your Heart in an Anxious World,” a seminar with Chip Ingram, held at the Billy Graham Training Center at The Cove in Asheville, North Carolina.
The world’s peace goes something like this: It’s the absence of disturbance and hostility, freedom from internal and external strife. Basically, it’s those little windows of time when your circumstances and relationships happen to line up just the way you want them. And so, enjoy those three-minute moments as you go through them!
But Jesus promises God’s peace, and it’s shalom. Shalom is a loaded word. It has four basic components.
First, it means to be complete, sound, to have wholeness of health. So when Jesus said to the disciples, “My peace—my shalom—I give to you,” it was soundness (Cf. John 14:27). It was wholeness of mind, peace of mind, peace of emotions, quietness of the body. Not headaches, not ulcers. You are at peace in the wholeness and soundness of who you are as a complete person.
The second aspect of shalom is harmony in your relationships. It doesn’t mean everything is wonderful; it means there’s a connection—even an agreement to disagree. But there’s a peace in your relationship, not strife.
The third aspect of shalom is success in fulfillment of purpose. When you are doing what God created you to do, there’s energy. There’s alignment. There’s a peace that says, “I love to get up and do what I’m called to do.”
And finally, shalom has the idea of victory over one’s enemies.
And so, on the last night, the disciples have centered their lives on His words and His life and His miracles and His teachings.
They’ve sacrificed everything—and He’s leaving. They’ve experienced God’s power, but their whole world is falling apart.
What’s His antidote? What is He going to give them to sustain them in the kind of world they’re living in, with fear, anxiety and uncertainty, and relational issues with family and the government and brothers and sisters in Christ?
In John 14, after He has shared the Lord’s supper with them and washed their feet, and after they’ve walked to the Mount of Olives and sung two or three psalms together, He says: “Peace I leave with you. My shalom I give you. I do not give you as the world gives you. Do not let your heart be troubled, and do not be afraid” (Cf. verse 27).
Really? Don’t let your heart be troubled? Don’t be anxious? Don’t be fearful? Why? What is He saying that makes the difference?
And at the heart of the peace of God is this: “You’re going to learn to live with My very presence: not just with you, as I am now, but dwelling in you.” ©2021 Chip Ingram
Chip Ingram is the CEO and teaching pastor of Living on the Edge—an international teaching and discipleship ministry. For more than 35 years, he has pastored churches ranging from 60 to 6,000 and has authored 15 books.
The Billy Graham Training Center at The Cove offers a variety of events with sound Bible teaching and soul-stirring worship. For information or to register for an upcoming event, visit TheCove.org or call 828-771-4800.