Blog, Living in the Abundance of Christ

Kept in Perfect Peace

I felt anxiety creeping up today, and it said:

“So much to do,
So much to do,
Will you get it all done?
Will you be too tired?
Will it be enough?”

These thoughts were flooding my head as my “to do” list increased. With every check I made, scratching something off the list, I was reminded of three more things to add. As my list continued to grow and berate me, my chest started to tighten, and I felt I had to stretch to take each breath.

And then, the Holy Spirit reminds me, peace.
Peace, not from the world, but from Jesus.

I begin to quiet my thoughts, as I remember the Lord.

He is for me.
He will help me.
He goes before me.
I will accomplish all that the Lord allows, and that will be enough.

Do not be troubled, and do not be afraid.

I let out a sigh.


We got some bad news today. The big kind of bad news. The kind of news that can unravel you, if you let it. Things will change. Many things will change, and I am not sure if those changes will be bad or good. I don’t know what the future holds, and the “stability” I crave so much, seems illusive. It wasn’t altogether unexpected, but that doesn’t make the blow any less troubling. And I’m reminded, yet again, that I depend on Jesus for my daily bread. I forget so quickly.

I knew that today, the topic I was to write on was peace. I had already jotted down some notes, and looked over them yesterday. And then this morning we got this news. My topic doesn’t change. I am to write about peace. God’s peace. Not as the world gives. He has a sense of humor for sure, even if in the moment, I’m not laughing.

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives.
Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” John 14:27

This is the passage that came to me while I was getting ready. Trying to wrap my head around what had just happened, and trying to figure out if I felt sheer panic, or strange calmness. This part of the verse played over in my head “do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” And I remembered, I don’t have to live by my feelings. It doesn’t matter how I feel in this moment. God is the same regardless of my feelings. He’s the same regardless of the news I just heard. He does not change.

The definition of peace is freedom from disturbance; quiet and tranquility. This is the world’s definition of peace. Everything has to be going smooth around you in order to accomplish this kind of peace. And if it’s not, then you separate yourself from whatever does not bring peace. This can be things, or habits, but it almost always involves people.

“Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. And a person’s enemies will be those of his own household. Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” Matthew 10:34-39

Christ’s words do not sound like the world’s definition of peace. Fighting family members? Taking up your cross? Losing your life for the sake of Christ, so you can find it? That does not sound like it’s free from disturbance, quiet or tranquil.

“If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” (Romans 12:18) We are to try to live peaceful, quiet lives. Doing what God has called us to do. Since we live in a fallen, depraved world, and we also, as believers, struggle with sin, living at peace with everyone is not always possible. Christ calls us to set healthy boundaries, to confront issues and tell the truth (in love), to stand up for what’s right and for those who cannot speak, we are to follow him. This kind of living does not always bring the worlds definition of peace, but it can and will bring the peace which Christ gives, to those who follow him.

What is the peace of Christ? How can we not be troubled or afraid in the midst of disturbing circumstances?

The peace he gives is internal, through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. Our circumstances, and the things going on around us have no bearing on this peace. It is there, because he is there. (Romans 5:1)

The peace that Christ gives allows us to enter into rest.

Through Christ we have peace and rest in our minds:

“You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.” Isaiah 26:3
“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

Through Christ we have peace and rest in our hearts:

“And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful.” Colossians 3:15
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble.
But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

Through Christ we will have peace and rest in our bodies:

“the LORD make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the LORD lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.” Numbers 6:25-26
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 1:28-30

Do not seek the kind of peace the world seeks, which is a superficial peace. Quiet and tranquil on the surface, while it causes hidden damage. The world’s peace sets no boundaries -which allows destruction, hides the truth in darkness, silences the advocates for those who cannot speak for themselves, and follows after idols and its own selfish desires.

“While people are saying, “There is peace and security,” then sudden destruction will come upon them as labor pains come upon a pregnant woman, and they will not escape.” 1 Thessalonians 5:3

But we, who follow Christ, continue to seek and pray for the peace that only he can give. Then, no matter what is going on around us, we will have perfect peace, that endures, and gives strength and stability. We can have the peace of Christ, and not be troubled or afraid in spite of, and in the midst of bad news and tumultuous circumstances. He keeps in perfect peace (our minds, hearts, and bodies), those who trust, steadfastly, in him. (Isaiah 26:3)

 

 

 

 

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