A Quest For Peace

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7 NIV).

 

For most of us we want nothing more than peace.  However, there are some that seem to thrive in drama and chaos, but I suspect that if they ever embraced the kind of peace that Jesus offers, they would likely have a different outlook on life.  As I think about those that seem to be void of peace, I see one thing that they have in common – they want immediate satisfaction.  But the more they pursue immediate satisfaction, the more that the peace of God alludes their relentless pursuit.  I think Romans 8:6 provides the answer to this dilemma.  “The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace.”  The life of a Christian is led by love of God, neighbor, and self.  The life of a narcissist is led by love of self and immediate satisfaction of fleshly desires.  Perhaps the Apostle Paul was warning Timothy, and us today, of such people when he wrote, “People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient, to their parents, ungrateful, unholy,  without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good,  treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people” (2 Timothy 3:2-5, emphasis added).

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.” (John. 14:27).  Note, this is just not any kind of peace but rather it is “His peace.”  And His peace transcends all understanding and allows us to renew our minds.

You may be struggling with a major decision or dealing with a huge problem, and unable to calm your mind.   As you lay in bed at night, your mind may be telling you that you can’t overcome this situation, this problem will never end, etc.  It is important at these times to realize that these voices in your mind are seeking to rob you of peace and are not from God.  Voices come from either God, flesh, society, or the enemy, and a voice that seeks to rob you of peace is clearly not from God.

You may wonder what does this “peace” actually look like?  How do I actually get it?   The peace that Jesus is offering in John 14:27 is a gift.  Jesus said, “My peace I give to you (emphasis added).  Every gift needs a giver and a receiver.  We must step out in faith and receive His peace and hold it tightly as a highly treasured gift, which it is!

We all know that our words have power.  This power is never greater when we use our words to rebuke thoughts that not from God.  Just as Jesus demanded calm on the Sea of Galilee we can rebuke thoughts in His name that seeks to rob us of our peace by using the Spirit within us.

For most people gifts are transactional.  I give you this because either you gave me something (and I feel obligated) or I am giving you this proactively because I want to receive something from you.  Jesus said “… not as the world gives do I give to you.”  We can never provide a return gift that is commensurate with His gift.  So, our best response is to receive the gift and rejoice in the victory that comes with it.

As I think about His peace, I think about spiritual warfare because this is where peace is won or lost.  The Apostle Paul understood this when he said, “And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians. 4:7, emphasis added).  In Biblical times, to guard something typically involved a garrison of soldiers. 

It is important for us to follow the teaching of 2 Chronicles 20:15 and understand that “…for the battle is not your’s, but God’s.”   When we turn a problem over to God, His peace is an army of angels (garrison of soldiers) protecting our hearts and minds.  Spiritual warfare is vastly different from traditional war.  2 Corinthians 10:3 reminds us, “For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does.”

There is nothing more peaceful than a calm river in the early morning.  The peace of God is the Fruit of obedience to Him.  Scripture teaches us, “Oh, that you had paid attention to my commandments.  Then you would have had peace like a river…” (Isaiah 48: 18).  In Biblical times, rivers were vital to life.  Jesus told us that when we receive the Holy Spirit, “out of our heart will flow rivers of living water” (John 7: 37).

Peace is not easy.  However, Jesus never promised us an easy life.  What He did promise was, “the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:7).”  Step out in faith and receive the gift and cling tightly to it! 

Prayer:  Dear God, Thank you for the gift of peace.  Help us to recognize Your voice and rebuke all others in Your name.  Guide us as we seek the peace that you offer and forgive us for the times that we seek peace in ways that do not bring honor and glory to You.  Amen.

Meet the Author

Todd Shupe is a Men’s Ministry Specialist through the General Commission of United Methodist Men and is in training to be a Certified Lay Minister through the Louisiana Conference of the United Methodist Church. He currently serves as the President of the Baton Rouge District of United Methodist Men and is a Board Member for Gulf South Men and serves on the Action Team for The Kingdom Group. He is a volunteer for the Walk to Emmaus, Grace Camp, and Iron Sharpens Iron. Todd resides in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

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