Virtues for Christ-Followers: Peace

June 11, 2024

by Peter Amsterdam

The next virtue in our list is peace, which is rooted in our being in right relationship with God, made possible because of Jesus’ gift of salvation. Through salvation we find peace with God, which makes peace with ourselves and others possible. As we place God at the center of our lives and we entrust our lives into His care, we experience His peace, which is a fruit of the presence of the Holy Spirit.

Peace is also the outworking of our trust in God and our confidence in His love for us. Jerry Bridges wrote that “Peace should be part of our character because God has promised us His peace, because He has commanded us to let peace rule in our lives and relationships, and because peace is a fruit of the Spirit and therefore an evidence of His working in our lives.1

In the “More Like Jesus” series, I wrote the following about the difference between biblical peace and peace in the absence of struggle:

We tend to feel at peace when things are going well; when we’re healthy, happy, doing well financially, and not facing any major challenges. But biblical peace goes far beyond the peace we experience when everything is running smoothly. It’s a steadying anchor even in turbulent waters. True peace transcends circumstances. It has to do with God’s presence with us, with living in His kingdom, letting Him reign in our lives, and trusting that He is our Father who loves us and always has our best interests at heart. We have peace because we have Him.

While we may have peace with God through salvation, this doesn’t necessarily mean we have the peace of God in our lives. Often we are robbed of peace because we worry and fret over fairly minor events or challenges. We try to deal with them ourselves, instead of bringing them before the Lord and casting our burdens upon Him in faith and trust that He is with us and cares for us. But Jesus promised that we could have peace in Him. We are to take heart in times of difficulty and uncertainty because Jesus has overcome the world. This awareness brings us peace, as we put our trust in the Lord.


God’s Peace: Shalom

Peace (shalom) is defined as a condition of freedom from disturbance, whether external or internal. It is not freedom of disturbance—meaning everything is without conflict or disturbance—but rather free from being overcome or distraught from the disturbance because of being confident in God’s promises given and His faithfulness to us.

Peace, then, is a state of mind in which the person may be in difficult circumstances, but is content, confident with hope, and in a state of being “at rest.” Being at peace means being “at rest”—experiencing God’s rest. When we are in God’s presence, allowing Him to be with us and work in us, He provides rest.

When we realize that we cannot earn or merit God’s favor on our own because of sin, we end the turmoil and strife in our inner spirit; we are no longer conflicted with warring against God or trying to work to gain His acceptance (Hebrews 4:9–10).

As a believer is indwelt by the Holy Spirit, He provides comfort (John 14:15–18; 2 Corinthians 1:3–4) and strength in our weaknesses (Romans 8:26). The Spirit will also bring to remembrance all that Jesus taught (John 16:13–14)—that He has all authority in and over all things so no matter what happens in or to our lives, He is in control, performing everything for our good (Romans 8:28).

He is always with us (Matthew 28:19–20), so we never experience our trials alone. We have nothing to fear (John 6:20) because He is the “I am,” eternal and present.

And we are eternally secure in Him (Romans 8:35–39), so we can never be separated from Him or His unconditional love for us, sealed by Jesus and secured through the Holy Spirit (2 Corinthians 1:22; Ephesians 1:13–14). God’s Word (Jesus) is faithful, and He will perform all that He has promised to carry us through to the day of our redemption (Philippians 1:6).

No matter our circumstances, we can “think on these things” (Philippians 4:8), which leads us to still waters, where He restores our souls (Psalm 23:2–3), providing comfort and rest, which gives us peace in the midst of the storm (John 14:27; Philippians 4:7; Isaiah 26:3)…

Experiencing God’s peace, loving and serving others within the family of God, and outwardly demonstrating God’s love for others so that we can live peaceably with all people (Romans 12:18), we as believers experience and demonstrate God’s peace through the growing fruit of the Spirit in our lives.—Randy DeVaul2


Jesus promised that we could have peace in Him. We are to take heart in times of difficulty and uncertainty because Jesus has overcome the world. This awareness brings us peace, as we put our trust in the Lord, which the following articles illustrate.

The Peace Jesus Gives

When you make room for Jesus, he gives you one of the greatest gifts: “I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart! And the peace I give isn’t fragile like the peace the world gives. So don’t be troubled or afraid” (John 14:27 TLB).

The peace that comes from the world is totally circumstantial. If you have a good job, then you’re at peace. But if you lose your job, then you’re not at peace anymore. If you’ve got money in the bank, then you’re at peace. But when that money is gone, then you’re not at peace anymore.

Jesus gives you a different kind of peace. The Bible calls it “peace … which surpasses all understanding” (Philippians 4:7).

What does that mean? It means you have peace when there’s no obvious or visible reason why you should be at peace. Everything around you could be in chaos, but for some unexplainable reason, you are at peace. That is the peace that surpasses understanding—and it can only come from Jesus, the Prince of Peace.

Jesus wants to give you that kind of peace so you won’t be troubled or afraid.

Whenever Jesus walks into a room, he fills that room with peace. Do you have rooms in your heart that are full of worry, upset, anxiety, or fear? Those are the rooms you haven’t invited Jesus into. Your worries reveal the areas you have not given over to God. That could include your finances, your dating life, your career, your parenting, your schedule, or your ministry. Whatever it is, you have to let it go. You have to give it over to Jesus.

Here’s the only way you’re going to have real peace: Give every part of your life to God to use for his purpose. Then you’ll have peace that will stand up to all of life’s pressures.—Rick Warren3

Do Not Be Afraid

“Do not be afraid” is the most frequent command in the Bible. … In the face of everyday fear, Jesus points to a lily, or a sparrow, and calmly says, Trust. Seek first the kingdom of heaven.

Trust does not eliminate the bad things that may happen, whatever sparked our fear in the first place. Trust simply finds a new outlet for anxiety and a new grounding for confidence: God. Let God worry about the worrisome details of life, most of which are out of my control anyway. “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God,” Paul wrote. “And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6–7 NIV).

When I question the practicality of those words in view of all the terrible things that have happened to Jesus’ followers over the years, I remind myself that Paul wrote them from a Roman prison cell. God’s peace indeed “transcends all understanding.”—Philip Yancey4


The remedy for fear and worry is to bring our cares to the Lord in prayer and trust that He knows all our troubles and that He loves us. The Bible doesn’t promise us that when we bring our burdens to Jesus we will always be delivered from them, but we are promised that He will sustain us with His peace. Once we’ve made our requests known to the Lord in prayer, we can have His peace. Our part is to pray for peace and trust in God for it, even in the midst of life’s storms, as the following articles illustrate:

Peace in Christ

Bethany Hamilton, one of the top female surfers in the world despite having only one arm, proclaims ... that God can change tragic events into opportunities to glorify Himself.

In an “I Am Second” video, Hamilton recalls how she climbed back on her surfboard after only a month following her near fatal collision with a shark that bit off her left arm. By her third try, the then 13-year-old was able to ride the wave all the way back to the beach.

Within a “split second” around Halloween of 2003, a shark attack left the young Hamilton without her left arm. She had lost about 60 percent of her blood after the freak accident and recalls a paramedic on the way to the hospital whispering in her ear, “God will never leave you nor forsake you.”

“I just laid there and prayed the whole way in, asking God for help.”

But with a smile on her face, she recalls that she had a “sense of peace and calmness” despite missing her left arm and losing more than half her blood because she was “able to turn to Jesus during this crazy moment in my life.”

“I think that is the one thing that just kept me alive,” Hamilton states.—Jennifer Riley5

Paved with Prayer

Want to worry less? Then pray more. Rather than look forward in fear, look upward in faith. “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done” (Philippians 4:6 NLT). This command surprises no one. Regarding prayer, the Bible never blushes. Jesus taught people that “it was necessary for them to pray consistently and never quit” (Luke 18:1 MSG). Rather than worry about anything, “pray about everything.” Everything? Diaper changes and dates? Business meetings, broken bathtubs, procrastinations? Yes, pray about everything. The path to peace is paved with prayer. Less consternation, more supplication. Fewer anxious thoughts, more prayer-filled thoughts. And as you pray, the peace of God will guard your heart and mind.6

Believing prayer ushers in God’s peace. Not a random, nebulous, earthly peace, but his peace, imported from heaven. The same tranquility that marks the throne room, God offers to you. Do you think he battles anxiety? You suppose he ever wrings his hands or asks for antacids? Of course not. A problem is no more a challenge to God than a twig is to an elephant. God enjoys perfect peace because God enjoys perfect power. And he offers his peace to you. A peace that will “guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:7 NLT). The Philippians, living in a garrison town, were accustomed to the Roman sentries maintaining their watch. God oversees your world. He monitors your life. Listen carefully and you will hear him say, “Everything is secure. You can rest now.”—Max Lucado7


Recently I was battling a war against worry, given my recent pain levels. I happened to read these words by Francis of Assisi written hundreds of years ago. He said, “Be at peace. Do not look forward in fear to the changes of life; rather look to them with full hope as they arise. God, whose very own you are, will deliver you out of them. He has kept you in the past, and will lead you safely through all things, and when you cannot stand it, God will bury you in his arms. As it concerns tomorrow, he will either shield you from suffering or will give you unfailing strength to bear it.” That’s good advice, and I have no doubt God inspired Francis of Assisi to write those words—after all, it was Jesus who originally said, “Peace be with you.”—Joni Eareckson Tada8


If we are to grow in the virtue of peace, we need to exercise our faith. The apostle Paul wrote: “What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.9 It’s in communion with the Lord, abiding in Him, trusting Him, following Him, that we find the path of true peace. Our possessions, relationships, finances, or circumstances are not what bring us peace. Abiding in God, living His Word, trusting Him for everything, is how we find and live in the peace of God, which transcends all understanding.

Prayer for the Day

You are a tower of refuge to the poor, O Lord, a tower of refuge to the needy in distress. You are a refuge from the storm and a shelter from the heat (Isaiah 25:4 NLT). Thank You for the peace You lavish upon all who put their trust in You, even in the midst of the hustle and bustle and the ups and downs of our daily lives.

Thank You, Lord, that You are the firm foundation upon which my life is built. You are the anchor that steadies my ship. You are the strong support beam that holds up my house—my life, my body, my spirit. You give me peace, faith, and rest. I know that no matter what happens in this life, You will hold me fast.10

Food for Thought

“Great peace have those who love your law; nothing can make them stumble” (Psalm 119:165).

“Jesus didn’t promise to change the circumstances around us, but He did promise great peace and pure joy to those who would learn to believe that God actually controls all things.”—Merlin Carothers

“I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).

“When we place God at the center of our lives, we find unexplainable joy, balance and peace.”—Brittany Ann

(To be continued.)

Unless otherwise indicated, all scriptures are from the Holy Bible, English Standard Version, copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

1 Jerry Bridges, The Practice of Godliness (Colorado Springs: NavPress, 2010), 175.

4 Philip Yancey, Rumors of Another World: What on Earth Are We Missing? (Nashville: Zondervan, 2009).

5 “One-Armed Surfing Star Bethany Hamilton on Trusting God,” Christian Post, March 23, 2011.

9 Philippians 4:9.

10 From “Resting in You” and “A Firm Foundation,” To Jesus with Love, adapted.