Updated: Dec 28, 2020
"I feel peace about it" is a commonly used phrase in Christian vernacular. Some might call it "Christian-ese" that describes a person's resolve when it comes to decision making. It is often used to justify why an individual is choosing to make a decision one way or another. "I've decided to quit my job. I prayed and I feel peace about it." It is a catch-all term that seems to imply conclusiveness, spiritual thoroughness, and decisiveness that originates from having accurately determined God's will regarding a decision. At the very least its a phrase that means "I'm done contemplating this and I'm okay with what I am about to choose." But is having the sentiment of "feeling peace about it" actually indicative of God's will? Let's dive deeper.
The Bible does teach us that peace is one of the ways that God leads us and confirms His direction for us (Isaiah 55:12). In addition, Philippians 4:6-7 tells us that peace can guard our hearts when we have released our anxious thoughts in prayer and thanksgiving. God's peace can be and definitely is a confirmation when we receive a word from Him and when we have sought Him in prayer for direction and clarity regarding a decision. But we must distinguish divine peace that comes as a confirmation of God's will for us as opposed to peace that is a result of our own inability to perceive danger. Ignorance or blind spots can create a type of peace on its own.
Is it possible that when we say we feel peace about something that our confession is not really backed by thoroughness in prayer, waiting on God for a reply or specific guidance, consultation of wise advisors, or application of biblical principles? Have we used this phrase not because we were thorough in our assessment of the decision, but because we had not yet seen anything that we consider to be alarming or dangerous?
Maybe you feel peace about it because you haven't waited long enough for God to open your eyes to what is wrong with that decision or situation. It is possible that you feel emotionally calm because you are yet to be enlightened about God's sentiment toward the matter. It is also possible that you may not be aware of certain principles and truths from God's word that would advise you against the approach that you feel peace about. Your inability to perceive danger or harm from a decision doesn't mean there isn't any harm present.
Proverbs 14:12 teaches us that there is a way which seems right but the end result of that decision is death. This means that you can look at a situation or decision, see nothing wrong with it from your standpoint, be emotionally content and yet make a harmful decision for yourself; all the while feeling "peace about it."
Here is the truth about peace: divine peace can manifest in chaos. Consider Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane (Matthew 26). He prepared for the reality that God's will was for Him to die on the cross. His circumstances were by no means peaceful yet He received a divine peace to make a decision that was not attractive. Roman soldiers surrounding Him, naysayers ridiculing Him, and all the while He carried on in God's will being at peace in the middle of chaos. Yes sometimes it is God's will to do the hard thing, not what feels the easiest or gives you the most calmness emotionally.
You cannot always determine God's will or direction based on the calmness of external circumstances. If your peace is coming from external conditions, find another peace. You may be misled by your own comfort. As it was for Jesus in Gethsemane, so it is for us that God's peace manifests as inner strength and confidence to move forward even in spite of chaotic or trying times--not always in the absence of them.
In Matthew 14:35-41 Jesus and the disciples attempted to cross the sea to another shore. There was nothing peaceful about their circumstances that would confirm to them that the trip was God's will. Notwithstanding Jesus knew getting to the other side was God's plan and direction. As previously stated, don't look to external circumstances to determine God's will. Determining God's will and receiving His peace often involves prayer, seeking God's word and wise counsel; all three and not just the one you gravitate towards.
As you pray about what God wants you to do in a situation, give Him space and time to speak. God's silence does not mean His approval (Psalm 50:21). Waiting on God is still important when it comes to hearing His verdict or thoughts on a decision. Don't move hastily especially with major decisions; listen for His response in prayer.
You should also ask yourself, "what does God's word say about this situation and what examples of this exist in scripture." There may not be verbatim stories or passages about your situation in the Bible but there are certainly principles from the Bible that will apply.
This is where godly counsel comes in because it can expose you to truths from scripture that you weren't aware of; there is safety or peace in the multitude of counselors (Proverbs 11:14). Hosea 4:6 says "my people perish because of lack of knowledge"; godly counselors who have more knowledge than you may be the difference between making a bad decision while feeling "peace" versus entering God's will with precision.
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