U.N. peacekeepers’ official purpose is “to help countries torn by conflict create the conditions for lasting peace.” U.N. peacekeepers are exactly that—peacekeepers, not peacemakers. When there is an armed conflict, the combatants make peace, and U.N. peacekeepers help to preserve it. Primarily, they are observers, ensuring that the terms of peace agreements are kept. In short, U.N. peacekeepers exist to further the United Nations’ mission of maintaining international peace and security. 
The New Testament has much to say about making and keeping peace, requiring a couple of subtle distinctions.
First, Jesus said, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God” (Matthew 5:9). That doesn’t mean that we are the ones who make peace in an ultimate sense. Jesus Himself has done that, as only He is qualified to do. The apostle Paul wrote, “Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 5:1). Because we were God’s enemies, God took the initiative to establish peace “through our Lord Jesus Christ.” So God, through Christ, was the true peacemaker.
So why does Jesus call us peacemakers in the Beatitudes? We might substitute the term “peace-promoters”—those who promote the peace that God established and which we now proclaim through the Gospel. When we are in step with the kingdom mission of Jesus Christ, then we promote throughout the world the peace that God established between us and Him through Christ.
But that peace has two dimensions. Besides the vertical dimension—peace with God—there is also a horizontal dimension of being a peacemaker. God has established peace through the Prince of Peace and laid down the terms of the armistice in the New Testament Gospel. We are then to embrace those terms for ourselves (making peace with God), and then live in peace with others. Paul wrote this mission clearly in Romans 12:18: “If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men.”
Becoming a Peacekeeper
You can’t keep a peace you don’t possess. If we do not possess peace with God, we can’t promote it or enjoy it personally. And if we don’t keep God’s peace in our life, we can’t live at peace with everyone else. At the risk of oversimplification, it may be easier to gain peace than it is to keep it. If someone becomes a U.N. peacekeeper and is sent to a combative region to help promote peace, that’s a simple matter of following orders. But once there, if a U.N. peacekeeper is drawn into a conflict, he loses his authority. He has become a combatant instead of a peacekeeper.
Likewise, it may be easier to establish peace with God by accepting the gift of forgiveness offered through the cross of Christ than it is to manifest that peace in a hostile world. We may find ourselves in conflict internally, or we may be drawn into a conflict with others. Either way, the saint’s path in this world is to be the path of peace: peace with God which leads to personal peace which equips us to live in peace with others.
Keeping the Peace
To be a peacemaker—to walk in the path of peace—you must first have peace with God through Christ. The secret to maintaining our personal peace in today’s warring world is to know that God is in control of our life. To have that knowledge, we must become His child through faith in Christ.
To keep the peace, we must continually commit to Him in prayer the things that would steal our peace—the cares and concerns of this world: “And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:7). We must meditate on the things of God—those things which please Him and are like Him—“and the God of peace will be with you” (Philippians 4:9). We must keep our mind fixed and focused on God and His promises: “You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You” (Isaiah 26:3).
We become righteous in God’s sight when we accept His sacrifice of peace in Christ. May you walk in the path of peace as one of God’s righteous ones. “For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace” (Romans 8:6).
Dr. Jeremiah is the founder and host of Turning Point for God and senior pastor of
Shadow Mountain Community Church in El Cajon, California.
For more information on Turning Point, go to
 http://www.un.org/en/peacekeeping/ (as of July 18, 2010)
Like a ship dragging anchor, discouragement can slow your spiritual momentum to a crawl. That’s why it’s essential to keep it at bay. In this Slaying the Giants in Your Life series, Dr. David Jeremiah looks at how Nehemiah responded to Jerusalem’s despair and how you can apply the same principles.