Peace and Power
This morning – a couple of weeks into our journey through Normal Vincent Peale’s The Power of Positive Thinking – the men’s group I meet with discussed chapter two: “A Peaceful Mind Generates Power.”
We enjoyed a wide-ranging conversation around the challenge we all face when it comes to reconciling the idea of cultivating a peaceful mind with the reality of actual, real, day-to-day life.
Of course – and as Normal Vincent Peale himself would have directed had he attended our small group session – we spent the majority of the hour talking about the scriptures, and how God uses words of beauty, authority, and truth to facilitate the process of healing.
As always, my time together with my brothers was priceless.
POWER: It’s now late in the morning, and while the other guys are off and running with Saturday activities filled with Boy Scouts, the boat show, teaching a teenager how to drive, work responsibilities, and more, I’m here in my study thinking some more about the association of peace with power.
It’s a great concept, and a principle worth a lot more careful – and public – consideration in light of the fact that we live in a world where the projection of power is typically associated with brute force, dominance, subjugation, bullying, and war.
But peace, and a peaceful mind; it generates power!
During the Last Supper, Jesus promised to leave the gift of peace with the disciples. “I’m talking about my peace,” Jesus said, “and it’s not like anything the world offers; so don’t let your hearts be troubled, and don’t ever be afraid” (John 14).
Don’t be afraid. Power. Peace that takes away fear has to be rooted in love – because perfect love nullifies fear (1 John 4:18). Peace speaks love to power and immediately disarms the leverage power owns through fear. Power generated via fear, then, is less effective – less potent – than power generated out of love. A peaceful mind, then, a spirit resting in the Jesus quality of peace, born of love, not only cancels out fear but completely overcomes it, “In all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us” (Romans 8:37).
When we chose Jesus to be our companion and guide, when we invite God’s Holy Spirit to take up residence in every detail of our lives, then we begin the process of being equipped with the signal strength of a peaceful mind. It’s a slow, incremental process – like preparing for a marathon or paying off a mortgage, but eventually Jesus remakes us, and there will come a point where the balance is tipped inexorably in favor of peace, and we will begin to leak more and more of that kind of power into the world around us, and we will be a force to be reckoned with.
Of course, as in all the paradoxical truths of Jesus, it is more and more of a surrender to God that equips us with this kind of power.
“I must decrease,” John the Baptist said, “so that he may increase. He must become greater and greater; and I must become less and less.” – John 3:22-30