What is the peace of Christ? In John 14:27 Jesus told His disciples, "Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful." His peace is not a peace as the world gives - not a tenuous cease fire, a compromise between warring factions, or even a feeling of tranquility. Jesus spoke these words to assure his disciples that although they were to face their toughest trial to date, the arrest and crucifixion of their teacher, that everything would be fine. He would give them His peace and the Holy Spirit to comfort their hearts. The peace of Christ doesn't mean that the life of a Christian will be easy, but it does mean that we will have supernatural comfort no matter our situation in life.
The apostle John records Jesus' words after telling the disciples that they would all betray him, "I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world." When the storms of life batter us on every side, we cling to the knowledge that He has overcome the world. We proclaim our thankfulness in all situations, allowing God to work through trials to conform us into the image of Christ. Thankfulness focuses our eyes on the Prince of Peace and off worry about tomorrow and fears for the future which can destroy our spirits.
The word translated "rule" (βραβεύετω - brabeuetō) - is commonly used in reference to the Olympics or other games. It refers to an arbiter who would preside over the games, keeping order and handing out laurel wreaths to the victors. So the peace of Christ keeps order in our lives; keeping at bay our tumultuous emotions and passions, especially those pertaining to things of this world.
As a Music Minister's daughter, I love verse 16. The best way to memorize and retain Scripture is to memorize it in song. I can still sing Bible verses that I learned in preschool choir! The early church as a body would sing scriptural texts and some songs that became part of New Testament scripture. We are instructed to pray continually, but I find that I quickly run out of words when trying to have a lengthy conversation with God. But often throughout the day I sing songs to God in my heart, and He speaks to me by bringing certain songs to mind.
I love most types of music, and I love worshipping at our church where we blend old hymns with new music. There is a danger in what music we allow into our minds. Vulgar song lyrics from my teenage years are seared into my brain and will probably come out of my mouth if I live long enough to speak to my children through the fog of dementia. But there is also a danger in some "good" or "Christian" music. Many of the songs of today are emotion driven, and there is a place for that. But if you find yourself more prone to raise your hands in praise to certain music styles yet can't "get into" the words of some traditional hymns, you may need to pause for thought. The style of music is not the problem per se, but make sure that you are driven to solid doctrine and knowledge of God rather than an emotional experience. (Okay, off my soap box.)
Whatever style of music floats your boat, take time to "Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ" (Ephesians 5:19-20).
Now enjoy my favorite hymn! The lyrics may have been written in the 6th century, but the words speak to us today!