Did you know that as a Christian, you carry with you a supernatural peace that can influence the spiritual atmosphere wherever you go?
In Matthew 10, Jesus commissioned His 12 disciples to go into the surrounding cities: “As you go, proclaim this message: ‘The kingdom of heaven has come near.’ Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received; freely give” (Matthew 10:7-8, NIV).
But have you ever taken note of verse 13? There Jesus is talking about finding a place to stay while in the nearby villages. Then He says, “If the home is deserving, let your peace rest on it; if it is not, let your peace return to you.”
This raises three questions for me. First, what determines whether a house is deserving? Second, how do I let my peace “rest” on a house? And third, why would Jesus want me to withdraw that peace from an undeserving house?
The first answer is easy. A deserving house is one in which you and your message are welcome. This is explained better in the very next verse: “If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, leave that home or town and shake the dust off your feet.” If they receive your message–and ultimately Jesus–then let your peace rest there. Otherwise, don’t.
The second answer requires a little bit of study. The Greek word for “rest” in this passage is “erchomai,” which means to come from one place to another, to come into being, to arise, to come forth, to be revealed, to find influence, to be established, and to become known. It is the same Greek word used in Matthew 3:16 to say that the Holy Spirit–in the form of a dove–descended from heaven and “alighted” on Jesus. Just as the Holy Spirit came in bodily form and alighted on Jesus, you carry with you a spiritual peace that can come from you and alight in a place that is worthy.
Sound a little weird? I’ll explain more in a moment.
And this brings us to the third answer. There is good reason to withdraw your peace from an undeserving house. If a person does not want to receive the message of Jesus–if they want to continue to live in sin–then they are better off without peace. With peace, they would be comfortable in their sin and remain unchanged. Without peace, they might be uncomfortable in sin and perhaps cry out to Jesus for salvation. As you can see, the people living in sin are better off without peace.
Wherever you go, seek to change the spiritual atmosphere for a time. Once the people have tasted the peace from God that you carry with you, they will be in a position to decide whether or not they want to receive the Source of that peace, which is Jesus Christ. If they want Him, then bless them and continue on your way. If they don’t want Him, then withdraw your peace and don’t leave it there.
How? How do we release or retrieve this peace? It’s all a matter of authority. Jesus invaded a storm with His peace. “Peace! Be still!” The wind and the waves stopped immediately. He had the authority to rebuke the storm, and the result was peace across an entire lake. We also see it throughout the New Testament as the writers say things such as “Peace be with you.” It’s not just a meaningless colloquialism or cultural saying (like when we say “bless you” after a sneeze). Rather, these writers were exercising their spiritual authority to actually administer peace to the readers (see 1 Timothy 1:2, Titus 1:4, Philemon 1:3, 1 Peter 5:14, 2 Peter 1:2, 3 John 1:14, Jude 1:2, etc.).
Lets make this really practical. The people who live without Jesus are vulnerable to the enemy and live with constant inner turmoil. Many are desensitized to the chaos–not even realizing how lost they are without Jesus. Others are keenly aware that life is a mess. If you, then, being full of the Holy Spirit, come into that person’s life, the peace within you should be influential enough to silence the storm in that one’s heart, mind, and spirit. Those who are desensitized will be awakened to another way of life, and those who are aware will be intrigued by the shift in the atmosphere. This is why people are often drawn to Christians and say things like, “I always feel so good when I talk to you.”
This peace is important because it enables the other person to focus on the message you speak. The ongoing destruction of the enemy is silenced for a time, and the person is free to hear the truth expressed in love. If he or she receives that message, then you have an opportunity to grant that person a blessing of peace. If he or she rejects the message, though, then you should let them know: “I’m sorry to hear that. Hey, if the chaos of everyday life gets to be too much for you, let me know. I’d be happy to talk to you about Jesus again. He wants you to surrender everything to Him, and then you can live in peace like I do.”
You have a peace that needs to be shared. Be a good steward of that peace. Ask the Holy Spirit if you should let you peace rest with a people, or if you should withdraw whatever peace you have to offer and go your way. He will guide you in the most beneficial and effective direction.
As James 3:18 says, “Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness.” The result of your peace is a taste of God’s kingdom in the world around you. Lives will be changed, and miracles will happen.
By the way, if you feel like you don’t have peace, and you’re wondering how to get it in the first place, simply ask God for the Holy Spirit. Galatians 5:22 tells us that peace is a natural result of having the Holy Spirit in your life. Furthermore, Paul said in Philippians 4:9, “Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me–put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.”
In other words, act on the Scriptures. The more we steward peace through active ministry, the more peace we receive.
2 Thessalonians 3:16–Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times and in every way. The Lord be with all of you.(NIV)