Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. And a person’s enemies will be those of his own household. Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.[ Matthew 10:34-39 ESV]
Making ourselves or anything in the world, especially our stuff, more important than God is sin. Making another person more important than God is sin. Our actions will show the evidence of sin, pointing at our rebellion against God. We are willingly compelled by a combination of worldly distraction and the thinking of our hearts toward sin. We want to control the circumstances which bring and secure peace.
Rejecting God we sacrifice true peace to gain control over a false peace. We convince ourselves that which is sin is not sin in order to maintain emotional control. We are completely out of control but as long as we feel in control we are at momentary peace with ourselves. As soon as we perceive either real or imagined danger to our emotional peace we launch into the fight or flight mode, or we freeze. As long as we concentrate upon ourselves, and the fabricated right to ownership of stuff, we are in danger of losing peace. It is not the stuff, or the collection of stuff, which challenges our peace, but the attitude which says this stuff is ours by divine right.
Jesus trained His disciples to go and teach to Israel what the people needed to know. Initially, on the first trip out, they were to take nothing with them allowing the people to meet their needs. He gave them authority and instructed them how to discern who was worthy and who was not. Did their peace stay on a place or return to them? Expect persecution, for His message was designed to stimulate conviction of sin and demand repentance. People who heard and responded either relinquished control to God or fought against Him.
We are not designed to control without being under God’s authority. Adam was given dominion over the world as part of the image of God and with his place of authority. He sinned, rebelling against God. In Adam we sin and rebel against God. When sin entered we did not lose the image of dominion but God’s authority to control. We replaced His authority with our own, manufacturing a right to own with no consideration of God’s ultimate right to ownership.
God gave us His image so we might have a relationship with Him whose eternal being as Three in One defines all relationships. True peace is found first and only in God.
It appears the dynamic is first peace with God then peace with others based upon peace with God and, finally internal peace founded and based upon peace with God and with others. Where our peace with God is threatened because of our insistence upon control God will wrench away that control. He will not allow anything in and of this world to compromise our relationship with Him. If you own something and have turned it into an idol He will break it. If a relationship is an idol, He will demand our eyes move from the other to Him no matter the temporal, worldly consequence.
Those who belong to God will not have peace in this world. This does not mean they will have no peace. It means their peace is eternal not temporal, fixed in the thinking of God’s heart. When we struggle with a lack of peace God shows the attachment to that which is other than God so we might detach from it and rest in Him. Our peace was bought for us by His Son, Jesus Christ. We must work with God to change the thinking of our hearts.