Have you ever stopped to think about how much our lives have changed in the last 30…20…or even 10 years? This is something that has been coming up more and more in conversations with my husband…not just because we’re getting older (we ARE but that’s besides the point *ehem) but also because, as children of the 80’s and 90’s, we remember what life was like before smart phones, the internet, and amazon prime. I am not totally against technology as it has provided a degree of convenience to modern day living. But let’s face it – things were simpler “back in the day”.
On top of that, the different seasons of life are something that none of us can escape from. College, career, parenting littles, raising teens, caring for elderly parents, etc – each season brings with it a new challenge and demands our attention.
I haven’t even mentioned bills, schooling, juggling career and housework and all other things that fall under the heading of: ADULTING.
At the end of the day, we often find the cry of our heart is for PEACE!!!
Thankfully, GOD makes this peace readily available to us. In fact, Philippians 4:7 mentions a peace that passes all of our understanding. The Complete Jewish Bible puts it like this:
“(Then) God’s shalom, passing all understanding, will keep your hearts and minds safe in union with the Messiah Yeshua.” (Jesus)
WHAT IS SHALOM?
But what exactly is shalom? You may have heard it used as a greeting, the same way that “hello” or “good-bye” is used. Oftentimes, it is used as a replacement for “peace” as in the above verse. But is there more to it than that? After all, when looking at words in the Hebrew language, one must consider all the possibilities of its meaning, which is often multi-layered.
Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance (#7965) states that “shalom” means: completeness, wholeness, health, peace, welfare, safety, soundness, tranquility, prosperity, perfectness, fullness, rest, harmony, the absence of agitation or discord.
Shalom comes from the root verb “shalam” (#7999 in the Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance). Some of the meanings listed for shalam are: safe, well, happy, friendly; health, prosperity, and peace.
There are 237 instances, in the Bible, where “shalom” is mentioned. The fact that it is mentioned so often tells us that it is important to God. Anything that is important to the heart of our Father God is worth paying attention to.
Clearly, shalom is so much more than just a greeting or a general state of peace. It is a blessing of health, wholeness and prosperity in every area of our lives: in a health sense, an emotional sense, a financial sense, a relational sense, a spiritual sense – everything!
Perhaps we could say that shalom is a concept that is holistic in nature. If you prefer, we could even say that shalom is a concept that is “whole-istic” as it is a blessing that ought to affect every area of our whole lives.
The thought that we should have shalom in every area of our lives may sound, at first, a bit overwhelming. After all, how does one even begin to go about achieving this?
Do we, first, have to live a life of perfection and then shalom will appear? Rather than thinking of shalom as a state of being that we must work to achieve, perhaps we should think of it as a force that we can choose to receive and lean into – a tangible force that we can move, flow and live in when we embrace the Creator’s ancient Ways.
WHERE DOES SHALOM COME FROM?
“And God, the source of shalom, will soon crush the Adversary under your feet.The grace of our Lord Yeshua (Jesus) be with you.” – Romans 16:20 (CJB)
In the above verse, we see that God, Himself, is the Author of shalom. Yes, He alone is the Source of shalom. The amount of counterfeit offers of peace, vying for our attention, are numerous.
Many good, well meaning people have been sucked into false religion, and ideologies, due to the “promises” of peace and enlightenment. Of course, the enemy of our souls sprinkles a bit of truth into every lie. This causes us to put our defenses down and sometimes we overlook the red flags of warning. Before long, we will find that we have gone way off course – down a road that is far from Creator’s Ways.
We must use discernment in these matters and research the root – the originalsource – behind such non-biblical (often mystical) beliefs. As hard as we may try, peace cannot be conjured up or manufactured by counterfeit religion. Even satan has been known to masquerade as an “angel of light” (2 Corinthians 11:14-15).
The truth is: we cannot think, medicate, or meditate ourselves into a state of shalom. It comes from Creator God alone!
PRACTICAL WAYS TO FLOW IN SHALOM
If you currently find yourself in a season where shalom seems out of reach or if you simply desire more of this powerful blessing, from GOD, below I have listed some practical ideas to consider:
1. Start your day with Creator God. Regardless of the current season you may find yourself in, your ABBA Father wants to spend time with you. He delights in you and is waiting for you to come to Him, everyday. Never underestimate the power of time spent in prayer, praise and in the Word.
2. Trust in Creator God. We were not designed to carry burdens. Lay them down at your ABBA’s feet, trusting Him to care for your every need.
3. Get rid of the old. Any old thought patterns, behaviors, or habits that don’t line up with GOD’s ways need to be kicked to the curb. Getting rid of the old junk opens up more room for the better things that your ABBA Father has planned for you.
4. Unplug. Spend more time with loved ones and nature…and less with tech.
Shalom is not an ethereal idea. It is tangible and something that we all can live, and flow, in. Thank you for allowing me to be a part of your healing journey. Shalom!