The way of peace is not a call to passivism. The way of peace is not a call to powerlessness. The way of peace is a call to know one's power. Jesus drove the money changers out of the temple. The Bible tells us he made a whip out of cords, overturned their tables, and drove them out. He would not allow them to leave with the money that they had gained.
We rarely think of Jesus as physically imposing. He is most often depicted as a passive idealist rather than a warrior of peace. Yet in the cleansing of the temple, we are reminded that Jesus knew that peace would not come without a battle and it would not come without a cost. The way of peace is not for the weak or the weak of heart. The warrior knows their power, and they know their greatest weapon is peace. And with as many wars that will ever rage around us, the greatest battle for peace will always be within us. Every battle is first fought within. Jesus was never powerless. He was the epitome of controlled strength. Although he was always meek, he was never weak. He knew his power but never abused it.
The warrior knows that peace does not come from control but from relinquishing control. Everything in life that you try to control that is outside your control will steal from you your peace. You must choose to take hold of what you can control and let go of what you cannot.
You cannot control your circumstances, but you can control your character.
You cannot control the actions of others, but you can control the choices you make.
You cannot control the outcome, but you can control the process.
The battle for peace requires that you both take control and relinquish control. Peace of mind does not come because you have eliminated uncertainty but because you have clarity about what is important. Peace comes when you stop trying to control the world around you and instead take responsibility for the world within you. Inner peace is interconnected to your confidence in future possibilities. In other words, peace is intimately connected to hope. Peace is lost when you are drowning in worst-case scenarios. Peace of mind is not about certainty but about hope-filled mystery.
The warrior has peace of mind because they know that there is always a way to find light, even in the midst of the greatest darkness. They know that there is always hope to be found, even in despair. Peace can exist in the midst of turmoil only if you believe in the beauty of the future. Peace sees the beauty everywhere. When you walk in peace, you are overwhelmed by the wonder of the universe and the beauty of life.
Erwin McManus appears this Thursday on LIFE TODAY. This is an excerpt from The Way of the Warrior: An Ancient Path to Inner Peace. Copyright ©2019 by Erwin Raphael McManus. Used by permission of WaterBrook, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC.