Last week we were talking about how we cannot chase after God and worldly things at the same time. We are on this wonderful topic of peace as we go through the fruit of the Spirt in our Back to Basics series. Yes, I have not forgotten where we are haha!
As I was talking about contentment from a “having enough” perspective and not chasing after the world but chasing after God. I was reminded that there are some things outside of that that can make us lose our peace. Life happens to all of us. What do we do when we get bad news or we feel sick or a loved one is going through something? How can we remain peaceful in those circumstances?
I think part of learning to release God’s peace in us is understanding and acknowledging that we have no control over certain things. When I am feeling unwell, I cannot control what my body does or does not do. When something bad happens to someone I care about, I cannot control that situation. We do not have control but that doesn’t make us powerless and weak. Quite the contrary. We are strong in God.
We have some secret weapons that we can invoke when we are faced with situations beyond our control. One, is the Name of Jesus; Romans 10:13 says, “For “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”” Another is the blood of Jesus which speaks of the new covenant we have with God. The third is prayer.
Philippians 4:6-9 says, “Don’t be pulled in different directions or worried about a thing. Be saturated in prayer throughout each day, offering your faith-filled requests before God with overflowing gratitude. Tell him every detail of your life, then God’s wonderful peace that transcends human understanding, will guard your heart and mind through Jesus Christ. Keep your thoughts continually fixed on all that is authentic and real, honorable and admirable, beautiful and respectful, pure and holy, merciful and kind. And fasten your thoughts on every glorious work of God, praising him always. Put into practice the example of all that you have heard from me or seen in my life and the God of peace will be with you in all things.”
This verse essentially gives us the step by step guide to receiving God’s peace in a situation. The Apostle Paul starts off by telling us not to be pulled in different directions or worried about anything. Worry comes in when we realize we cannot control the outcome of a situation and we fear the worst. Instead of worrying, we are to pray to the One who has the answers and the One who has the power to change or determine the outcome, God. But we are not just to pray scared prayers begging God to help us, we are to pray faith filled prayers and be overflowing with gratitude because we know that the One we are talking to has heard us and help is on the way!
When we do this peace which transcends human understanding will guard our hearts and our minds. Then we are not to go back to worrying and stressing about what’s going to happen and how it is all going to work out. We are to fix our minds and our thoughts on what is authentic and real (and so on). We are to focus our thoughts on every good thing God has done for us. The times he answered our prayers. The times He came through for us. God’s faithfulness. His kindness towards us. His love for us. We have control and can exercise our free will to choose what we want to focus our thoughts on. God’s peace can stand guard at the gate of our thoughts to keep us at peace but if we keep going to the gate like, “Nah- this thought is with me”, and we keep letting all the negative thoughts in, we will soon find that we are not at peace.
We need to keep our thoughts focused on God. Isaiah 26:3 say, “You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you!” No matter what we are going through or what we are facing, we can maintain our inner peace if we keep our thoughts fixed on Jesus.
To me peace is a quiet trust in God. Jeremiah 29:11 says, ““For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.”” God knows the plans we don’t. Things may not look good right now, but we trust that God’s plans for us have not changed. Romans 8:28 says, “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.”
We can trust God because we know that no matter what we face, God is able to make it work for our good. He may not have caused it, but He has such amazing redemptive power beyond what we can comprehend. In the middle of a crisis or a heartbreaking situation, it can be hard to see God in the middle of it. But trust God and trust in His goodness. He is good and He loves you beyond measure.
There is one line in a song that always ministers to me when I am going through stuff and it says, “You don’t belittle our pain and our suffering and You comfort us in our greatest unravelling, Jesus, my Jesus…” Those are lyrics from the song, Extravagant by Bethel. God sees you and you can trust Him. God doesn’t brush over our pain. He wants to heal us and He wants to comfort us. Peace is one of the sure ways that we know that God is with us in the middle of dark seasons.
I will leave you with this, Isaiah 26:3 in the Passion Translation says, “Perfect, absolute peace surrounds those whose imaginations are consumed with you; they confidently trust in you.” So let us not imagine the worst-case scenario or keep replaying the bad things that happened to us in life. Instead, let us fix our minds on Jesus and trust that He is with us and He is for us. Let us allow the Holy Spirit to infuse us with His peace.
Love and blessings