The third element to living your Life as an Arrow that hits your target is Peace.
Why should Peace matter to your life?
Let’s go back to the archer analogy:
If you have great aim (Purpose), and you’re pulling your arrow as far back as possible (Power)…
...yet the ground beneath you is shaking, your mind is cluttered and chaotic, and you feel attacked by those closest to you, you could still miss your target.
Peace means having sure footing, a clear mind, and a calm heart.
Have you every tried to finish an errand or to meet a deadline at work while worrying about a conflict, a health concern, or a financial stress?
Were you able to truly “work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters”? (Col 3:23)
If you’re like me, trying to create, complete, or connect while your life is troubled, in turmoil, or tormented is nearly impossible!
In a similar way, peace matters when it comes to hitting the target.
But there’s a huge pitfall when it comes to seeking peace.
Many people often preach a “new age” kind of peace through God. They may even Christianize it with the world “shalom” — which is a Hebrew word translated as peace and harmony — as an undefined superset of peace.
This kind of teaching tickles the ears and preys on human desires by inspiring images of sipping drinks with umbrellas by the beach; meditation in a zen-inspired spa; or even amorphous, vague hyper-spiritualization — all while missing the foundation of true peace through Christ.
The two approaches share the same promises of peace: freedom from anxiety, worry, mistrust, and confusion, as well as a release from the feeble attempts to get there, such as addictions, workaholism, and damaging relationships.
But in order to experience the kind of peace that truly matters, we need to understand the right peace to seek.
To understand the right kind of peace we seek, however, we need to recognize what life is without it.
It’s not the surface symptoms we talked about it. Life without that true peace is much more than that.
The opposite of peace is war.
Without true peace that can only come through Christ, we are at war with God (emphasis added):
For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! (Romans 5:10)
In fact, our very nature is to be at war with God:
The sinful mind is at war with God. It does not obey God's law. It can't. (Romans 8:7)
This war that our sinful nature has with God is the source of our underlying distress — and yet we often don’t know it. Our deep and hidden shame, our inborn hatred of what is good and holy, our rebellion against a loving God — all unleash turbulence within our soul.
To end the war, what do we need?
We need a peacemaker.
Christ’s role as a peacemaker — mediating the war between us and God — is illustrated in how he brokered a peace between Jews and Gentiles:
For He Himself is our peace, who has made the two one and has torn down the dividing wall of hostility by abolishing in His flesh the law of commandments and decrees. He did this to create in Himself one new man out of the two, thus making peace and reconciling both of them to God in one body through the cross, by which He extinguished their hostility.
He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near.
While this passage is describing how Christ harmonized Jews with Gentiles, it can describe the mended relationship between you and God.
The challenge is often how to translate and make actionable the peace with God into real tangible peace.
Here are three distinctions to help you:
Distracted vs Deep
Listen to the words describing how a desperate man cries out to God:
Deep calls to deep
in the roar of your waterfalls;
all your waves and breakers
have swept over me. (Psalm 42:7)
Could that verse have also read “the shallow calls to deep”?
Or “the distracted calls out to deep”?
No, it couldn’t have.
In this verse, the writer, fully seeing the depths of his helplessness and depravity, then calls out to God’s deep comfort and protection.
We need to be willing to go deep into our own sin and hurt to truly experience God’s depths.
But if you live a distracted life, you cannot bring these broken pieces to God and allow His grace to wash those away.
There are two distinctions that can be revealed if, however, you do allow yourself to go deep.
Resentment vs Restoration
The first is Resentment vs Restoration.
The worldly pattern is to hold onto, use, or bury your resentment.
But unresolved resentment, no matter how buried in your soul, will eat at you, corrode true peace, and separate you from God.
Resentment is the poison you take with the hope someone else will die. Its dangers are clear:
Look after each other so that none of you fails to receive the grace of God. Watch out that no poisonous root of bitterness grows up to trouble you, corrupting many. (Hebrews 12:5)
If you are so blessed to have never been touched by resentment, amen!
But if you still experience it, exploring this distinction is an important area to experience peace.
However, even for those who have no resentment or conflict with others have much to gain from this third distinction:
Regret vs Redemption
The last area to bolster God's Presence is to move from Regret to Redemption.
No one can escape regrets. It's how we handle those regrets that makes the difference:
For the sorrow that is according to the will of God produces a repentance without regret, leading to salvation, but the sorrow of the world produces death. (2 Corinthians 7:10)
The redemption that comes from a Godly sorrow is one that saves you from the death of worldly sorrow.
But knowing the difference, and, more importantly, being able to move forward and redeem your regrets, is a journey that makes such a deep and lasting change: “Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead.” (Philippians 3:13)
Your Next Steps
Living your life as an arrow, an arrow which soars to its target, needs all three: Purpose, Power, and Peace.
I’m going to break the analogy for a second here: imagine your life is already an arrow in flight.
But unlike an arrow where, once released from the bow, its destination is set in stone.
Instead, think of your life’s arrow as having a little GPS that can make corrections along its flight path: a little to the left, a little to the right, a little more power here, a steadier hand there.
Those course corrections come from making clear, crisp, and continuous distinctions throughout your life.
In the end, where we end up in your life is the sum of these decisions.
Often, we think it’s only the big decisions which matter. And they still do. We need to make the hard calls with wisdom and conviction.
But when Moses says to Israel, “Today I am giving you a choice. You can choose life and success or death and disaster,” (Deuteronomy 30:15) — it isn’t just a one-time, dramatic call.
He’s also telling the Jews to live in a way that makes those choices.
He emphasizes, “Choose life!”
While the big decision is to choose an eternal life through Christ, it includes all the on-going course corrections, the distinctions, that help you to live life as an arrow.
If you need purpose, maybe it’s making a decision between being busy and building.
If you are in need of power, maybe it’s choosing between being haughty versus being humble, in a specific relationship.
If you need peace, maybe it’s taking a step from distraction to going deep.