“If you want to enjoy life and see many happy days, keep your tongue from speaking evil and your lips from telling lies. Turn away from evil and do good. Search for peace, and work to maintain it. The eyes of the Lord watch over those who do right, and his ears are open to their prayers. But the Lord turns his face against those who do evil.”
-1 Peter 3:10-12 (NLT)
I’ve been thinking a lot about this piece of scripture since I read it a few weeks back. Something about the way that the scripture speaks of peace just really resonated with me.
To me, peace is something that I’ve never really given a thought about. If I had to boil it down to a process, there’s a moment when you hit peace, you realize it, you pump your fist and you carry on. Or at least, that’s the way I’ve always perceived it.
The scripture says that we must “work to maintain it”. It may sound nerdy, but I started thinking about the science behind ‘work’. From a physics standpoint, work is the dot product of a force and a displacement. The displacement implies that there must be some movement behind it; some change between where you’re at and where you’re going. Peace is something that’s dynamic; it isn’t something that’s just achieved. Peace is something that must be maintained and it needs work. It isn’t something passive, but rather something that is active; it’s moving, it has life.
I think about the relationships I have with the people around me, both family and friends and I believe I’m a peaceful person.
I think about growing up at home, my relationship with both my siblings and parents. If I look at the big picture, we hardly fought. I can count on one hand the number of major arguments I’ve had with my parents. There were always disagreements, but never “fights”. The same goes for me and my siblings. In fact, I don’t know that we’ve ever fought (if they’re reading this, maybe you can remind me if we did?). I think it’s why whenever my friends tell me that they get into arguments with their siblings, I get curious. How does that come about and what sort of things would you argue about?
Then I look at the relationships I have with my friends, and the arguments are even less than the ones above combined. But if anything, I’ve probably offended people by things I’ve said, opinions and thoughts prematurely spouted. So if I’ve ever made anyone feel “unpeaceful” with me, I am sorry.
And then I have to think about the relationship with myself. You know that place where the head, heart and soul collide? This is the area in my life with the most unrest, the most fights and the most wars. This, dear reader, is where I can say that there isn’t as much peace. Between these three parts, one is always battling another, or, there’s a handicap match, or, there’s a triple threat match. The internal struggle is like a prowrestling dream!
So how shall I bring peace amongst these rivals? And what can be done to maintain it?
I’m thinking that something that needs to be maintained would require consistency, and when I think of consistency as a Christian, the first thing that pops into my mind is prayer. Prayer needs to be continual.
And when I look at myself, it makes sense, I think that’s why there’s that feeling of unrest lately – I haven’t been praying as consistently as I used to. It’s been playing second fiddle to the iPad or a Batman book (note: I can only hope that by realizing this, that God won’t smote the iPad or the Batman books… I’m learning my lesson, no need for drastic measures, God). So I’ve been changing my prayer habits recently. Rather than praying one large prayer at a certain time, I’ll pray shorter prayers throughout the day, when I’m reminded that there’s something that I need to pray about.
Either way, I realize that I need to strengthen this part of my spiritual life. I need focus and I think that focus will bring about peace. But again, it’s something I’ll need to work at.