Let the Peace of Christ Rule

Mindfulness as a Path to Inner Peace

December 4, 2023

Inner peace is the new apologetic. So went the observation of a senior Barna leader recently at a roundtable gathering for those leading global evangelistic organizations. 

He was presenting fresh research on factors that contribute to openness to faith across generations, and inner peace stood out as a significant factor among the Gen Z data set.

It took my breath away. What a powerful idea! Can you imagine the impact an entire generation of Jesus’ people could have were they marked by inner peace and building relationships with those in this age range? 

Let’s remember what apologetics is about!  We’re talking about the case for the gospel, the compelling argument or proof for Jesus’ resurrection and life in us. 

Let’s go back through the ages. What have been the apologetics for this world? We could begin with Jesus showing Thomas his hands and eating with his guys. The earliest followers witnessed the empty tomb. 

In the early church, the other-worldly nature of people living righteous, supernatural lives had a persuasive quality. In more modern times, apologetics have been the logical proof of Christ, coming to the conclusion that he must be the Messiah, truly the son of God… think Lee Strobel. Even more recently, it was social justice. The Christians who were entering real global issues were sharing their faith and accomplishing great things… think Purpose Driven Life.  

What is the compelling case that might cause someone to believe Jesus is who he said he was? 

What about today, with what 2023 feels like for the human condition? What is the compelling case that might cause someone to believe Jesus is who he said he was? 

As my friend discovered recently, it’s inner peace. 

What if those struggling with mental health, addictions, isolation, anxiety, and despair would be likely to place their confidence in the person of Jesus if they built relationships with ordinary Christians who were truly marked by inner peace? 

We could impact millions!!

Are we marked by peace? Or are we marked by alarm, anger, and anxiety?

Oh, but wait. 

Are we? Are we marked by peace? Or are we marked by alarm, anger, and anxiety? Are we marked by self-righteous vitriol, bitterness, and judgment? 

And further, even if we were marked by a significant capacity for inner peace… do we actually know anyone in this emerging generation enough to allow that inner peace we carry to be experienced? Transmitted, even? 

One of the most compelling fruits of Healthy Leadership NEXT will be this: evangelism borne of inner peace, especially among GenZ and Alpha. 

All we need to do is intentionally expand our capacity for inner peace.

All we need to do is intentionally expand our capacity for inner peace.

If Jesus is the Prince of Peace, then perhaps it’s also fair to say that God is the King of Peace. 

Like the modern king of England, the ancient king of Persia, maybe even like the metaphorical king of Rock & Roll, God is the King of Peace… which is another way of saying his Kingdom, the effective domain of his rule, or his supremacy, is peace. 

Where there is true peace, God’s rule is operational. Where there is no peace, there is opposition to God’s rule. This is not the way it’s supposed to be.

Now, of course, as we delve into these waters you will rightly object, “But God’s sovereign rule is ultimately everywhere over everything at all times.” 

Be that as it may, we are speaking here of the effective domain of his rule, where what God would want to be happening in a situation is in fact happening. On earth, as it is in heaven. 

Hopefully, we can agree that many many many circumstances in our world right now are not marked by God’s rule. How we long for this! God could certainly super-intend God’s power into any situation at any point… nothing is beyond God’s reach. But it appears that, for the most part, God chooses to partner with us to bring about what is good – to cooperate in contending for what is good and right. 

That’s actually a reasonable way to interpret our beloved Romans 8:28, but with a slightly different twist. Usually, in the NIV, we hear it: 

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” 

It puts us a bit on our heels, so to speak. As long as we love God and have been called, which we do and, of course, we have, then we can just sit back and know God will make everything work out for our good. It sounds precariously close to a self-absorbed view that God is the divine genie magically making all our desires come true. 

Not only does that not jive with real life at all, it just doesn’t sound much like the life of purpose and meaning and action and even sacrifice that we are invited to follow Jesus in.

Some years ago, I stumbled onto a text note that drew my attention to an alternate rendering of this cherished, oft-memorized, promise in Romans 8:28. I’ve confirmed with several Greek scholars since and indeed the phrasing is not an exact science. 

A completely viable alternate rendering is this: 

for we know that 

in all things God works 

together with those who love him 

to bring about what is good —

with those who are called according to his purpose.

Do you hear the difference?

We are not sitting back waiting for God as the cosmic janitor to just put all the pieces together in a way that is pleasant for us personally. (And, let me be quick to note it’s stunning and true that so very often, God does, in fact, do that very thing.)

But this passage invites us to a life very much on the tips of our toes… reaching, straining, eager to work with God to bring about what is good.

But how? 

What do we do to cooperate with God in this way? Earlier in the chapter, Romans 8:6b, we read “… the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace.”

There’s that Kingdom language again… a mind governed, or ruled, by the Spirit is life and peace.

The greatest potential for cooperating with God to bring about what is good will come from those who are routinely moving in God’s character and ways, whose minds are ruled, or governed, by the Spirit. 

The greatest potential for cooperating with God to bring about what is good will come from those who are routinely moving in God’s character and ways, whose minds are ruled, or governed, by the Spirit. 

So we must begin quite personally, looking to our interior disposition, so that we can move out into this world in ways that redeem, restore and expand God’s rule and reign… God’s Kingdom.

How do we cultivate inner peace? What’s our part in experiencing that intangible quality that adds so much value and substance and possibility to our lives? A quality that would compel someone else to consider that maybe, just maybe, Jesus is real? What if that inner peace is that new apologetic?

I’ll leave you with this idea, and I hope it will help you visualize this. Jim Wilder, one of my favorite authors, has written several books that talk about the role of peace in our lives. He references Colossians 15, “And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body.”

Diving into the Greek, “rule” looks more like the role of a referee, calling what can and cannot be. In my imagination, I see peace as Gandalf standing between Frodo and Co. and the immense, ancient creature that threatens to end the story right there. 

Peace stands at the threshold, and bellows, “YOU SHALL NOT PASS!” where anxious thoughts and toxic thinking threaten to invade, knowing Jesus’ peace will be our guardian over the thoughts we entertain. As we pay attention to this inner dialogue, welcoming help and focus where needed, we develop a greater sense of God with us, and the return to shalom becomes easier over time. It may be compromised from time-to-time, but the journey back becomes quicker.  

Let’s remember what this is all for. Even our own peace is not where it finishes. It will be felt. 

This is the peace that someone could sense from you. Peace in the way you talk to and treat the stressed checkout attendant at the grocery store. Peace someone can see in you when things go wrong and you don’t get caught up in it. It’s the way your eyes don’t shift when you meet someone, because you’re secure and at peace. 

This is peace that speaks to an inner life, the life everyone around you is dying to experience.. And when they ask, you can smile, and share your story. 

Mindy Caliguire

Mindy Caliguire

Mindy Caliguire is Founder/President of Soul Care – a spiritual formation ministry that exists to increase soul health in the Body of Christ. She’s served in executive leadership in both ministry and marketplace contexts, is a former board member of Leadership Network, and currently serves on Stadia Church Planting and LeaderCare boards. She speaks and writes on the topics of Soul Care and leads the growing team at soulcare.com who work with individuals and organizations to bring leaders to life by focusing on the health of the soul. 
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