After searching for months for a new home in Chicago, Rob told me he found a house with a lot of potential. He explained it was in a beautiful neighborhood, across the street from a park, and very close to Elly’s school. At the time, Elly was about to turn four and I was very pregnant with Serena. When Rob showed me the house, I was shocked and disappointed as I exclaimed, “It’s so ugly!” The house had a nice, red brick exterior, but the inside was very dated…think green carpet, wood paneling on the walls, dim lighting, and low ceilings.
While we did not know it at the time, right after we passed on that house, a couple bought it and flipped it. A year later, they put it back on the market. It looked like a new house! The green carpet was replaced with wood floors, the kitchen was completely remodeled, and the master closet looked like a dream come true! We closed on the house on Serena’s first birthday and loved living there. We called that old house turned new home for five years.
I found the process of purchasing our first home in Chicago to be stressful. However, I can still remember the moment when I was praying about that decision and God filled me with His peace to proceed. In John 14:27, Jesus said, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.” When I saw that original house in Chicago, I was troubled at the sight of it and afraid that we would never find a house in our price range. But praise God, He heard and answered our prayers for a place to raise our expanding family.
In preparation for a recent Bible study, I was studying the New Testament meaning of the word “peace.” The Greek word for peace is eirene, meaning, “harmony, well-being, to join or bind together that which has been separated.”1 In his Bible commentary, William Barclay states that eirene “may well be connected with the Greek word eirein, which means…to weave together.”2
I love this! Jesus came to bring peace, harmony, and well-being to our souls. Through Jesus, we can have peace with God (Rom. 5:1) and peace on the inside or inner peace (John 14:27). When we invite Jesus into our hearts, He begins the work of bringing together the fragmented strands of our hearts, fixes our inner brokenness, and makes our hearts whole again. Jesus has the power to heal and restore anything that is physically, spiritually, or emotionally broken in us.
As a part of my jail ministry, I recently shared this good news of peace with the inmates. One of the women raised her hand and asked, “Did you say Jesus fixes our broken hearts or parts?” My response was, “Both!” I told the women in the jail that day about our house in Chicago. I explained that before Jesus rebuilds our hearts, He may need to do some demolition first. I shared that perhaps their time in jail could be viewed as a season to clean out the clutter or junk in their lives so that they could be prepared to leave the jail completely transformed.
Partnering With Jesus
For all of us, the transforming work Jesus does in our hearts will not always feel comfortable or be easy. He may ask us to remove harmful habits or thought patterns so that something stronger can be built in us. He may ask us to break away from toxic relationships or to avoid certain situations. He may lead us to a different job or group of friends. Just as a house renovation often takes longer than expected and can involve some unexpected challenges or setbacks, as we partner with Jesus in our sanctification, the process can be messy or painful. As we cooperate with Jesus on our inner renovations, we know the effort will be worth it in the end. We can be assured that a peace-filled heart will be far better than the original one.
Peace and Prayer
We can experience inner peace as we release bad habits, relationships, or thoughts to God. Another way we can partner with Jesus in our inner renovation is through prayer. In The Message paraphrase of Philippians 4:6-7 we read, “Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.”
As we pray, Jesus tears down walls of anxiety and fear in our hearts and replaces them with His peace. Prayer fills our hearts with peace as we are reminded that God is at work and He is in control. When Jesus moves into our hearts, it is “out with the old” ways of worry and “in with the new” life of peace in Him.
The Prince of Peace
Over two thousand years ago, God sent His Son to earth to “bind up the brokenhearted” (Isaiah 61:1) and He is still doing that work in us today. Like our pre-renovated house in Chicago, maybe your heart seems dark or beyond repair. Perhaps your heart was recently broken into a million pieces. No matter the current state of your heart, if you have asked Jesus inside, there is no heart so broken that He cannot fix. When Jesus looks at you, He doesn’t walk off the job in exasperation. He already knew every mistake you would make and still calls you loved and worth dying for. He is ready to fill your heart again with His love and peace.
Let’s invite the Prince of Peace to renovate every room of our hearts. Just as God was faithful to complete the work of weaving us together in the wombs of our mothers (Ps. 139:13), He will be faithful to finish the work He is doing in our hearts today (Phil. 1:6). Jesus can take all of our broken hearts and parts to make something new, whole, complete, and beautiful.
1 “Peace-Eirene (Greek Word Study).” Precept Austin. https://www.preceptaustin.org/peace_eirene.