You can’t trust in your circumstances; you can’t trust in the world; you can’t trust in your flesh. So what do you do? Where do we find the kind of peace that changes us and the way we respond to the pressures of life? We go to the source of all peace, God’s heart. And God’s heart expressed in His Word reveals to us how to have God’s peace that guards our hearts and minds. Here are some verses to get our hearts peace centered.
“Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.” (John 14:27)
“These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)
Now may the Lord of peace Himself continually grant you peace in every circumstance. The Lord be with you all! (2 Thessalonians 3:16)
The references to peace recorded by the Holy Spirit for our benefit were spoken at times when God’s people were under great distress and difficulty. God did not promise that all the difficulties would be taken away; instead, He told us that in Him we have peace because He has overcome the world. It is possible to be at peace with God and yet never have the peace of God. God’s peace comes in two installments. The first is not at all dependent on what we do, and the second is entirely dependent upon us.
God made peace with us through Jesus. We didn’t earn that—we didn’t create all the right circumstances in order to receive that peace. It is all God. “Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 5:1). When we receive Him and the power of His blood to justify us by faith, peace is accomplished on our behalf. The peace treaty was signed in His blood and can never be broken.
Our responsibility is to be obedient and follow God’s instructions so that we experience His whole peace. Look closely at Philippians 4:6-7:
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
It is easy to gloss over these verses and miss a specific detail in God’s guidance. But it’s right there in God’s Word: we are not to be anxious. We don’t have permission to get stirred up. So without realizing it, we often disobey God.
What is it right now that’s making you anxious? It is serious. It’s deep. It’s difficult. It’s hard. I don’t for one second want to minimize your troubles or mine by saying, “Just let go of them, it’s easy.” Our problems and fears are real and tough and sometimes even crippling. All the more reason why we cannot let our circumstances control us.
I have recently had to remind myself that God told me—He didn’t suggest—not to be anxious, but instead, to pray. I don’t need to call my friend; I don’t need to call my daughters; I don’t need to go online and get everyone’s opinion; I don’t need to talk, talk, talk the problem out. I need to pray first. Yes, I can share what I am going through with others, but my first action should be to take my circumstance straight to God. I am to make my requests known with thanksgiving and believing by faith that there is an answer, there is a solution, there is a way, there is hope, and there is strength.
Whatever you and I need for the battles we face has been provided. And the peace of God is ours when we follow the second part of this passage from Philippians:
Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things. The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you. (Philippians 4:8-9)
So we’ve been told what not to do: be anxious. And now we are instructed what we are to do, and that is to let our minds “dwell on these things.” Not skim. Not read and then ignore or save for later when we are less burdened. We are to dwell on those things that God considers praiseworthy. After we spend time thinking on them, then we are to put those behaviors into action as we “practice these things.” And the God of peace, Jehovah Shalom, will be with us.
From Becoming a Woman Who Knows God by Name by Jan Harrison
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