Friday, July 5, 2013

Real Peace

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 Peace. Everyone wants it and most seem to think it is the answer to the world's problems. But what does it look like and how do we get it? In his book, Real Peace, Andy Farmer offers some answers to what peace is, how to find it and how to apply it to the struggles of life.

In chapter 1, Farmer defines peace as: harmony, order and fullness. With a full explanation of each, he shows how this fallen world fails to experience these three things. "If we can't have harmony, we'll settle for tolerance...But the best tolerance can do is keep tension at manageable levels. It will never deliver harmony."

In chapter 2 Farmer explains that "shalom peace" is the way things are meant to be and when sin entered the world, creation lost that perfect harmony and order.  Humans are constantly in search of that "shalom peace" and chapter 3 gives us the answer to that search: the Prince of Peace. True peace in our human existence only happens when we are made right with God and this reconciliation comes from Christ's atoning death on the cross.

Chapters 4-8 describe how to have peace in the struggles of life - stress, anxiety, grief, depression and conflict. Each chapter takes a passage of Scripture and applies it to the particular struggle in a helpful, encouraging and practical way. For example, by evaluating Phil. 4:8-9 in detail and applying it to daily life, Farmer helps us see where stress can be eliminated/reduced by thinking on the right things.

Chapter 8 had some great thoughts on how understanding the forgiveness we have received in the gospel of Christ should make us more willing to forgive others:

"We need to see that in every conflict there is an absurd commitment to things that destroys peace."

"Trust me, if you wait to hear someone's confession to gather the motivation to forgive them, you will never hear a confession that motivates you to forgive." 

"The deeper the gospel penetrates our hearts, the more the Peace of Christ will govern our actions."

 The final two chapters help us choose to respond to others in ways that promote peace. Chapters 9 and 10 describe how to have peace with God's people and the world respectively. 

I thought this was a wonderful book that dealt thoroughly with the issues related to the peace we long for by using Scripture to teach and encourage us. This book has helped me understand how to respond better to those dealing with grief, how to let go of stress and anxiety and to be more intentional with forgiveness.

*Special thanks to Crossway for providing this book for review through 

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