Philippians 4:4-7 (NLT)
Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again—rejoice! Let everyone see that you are considerate in all you do. Remember, the Lord is coming soon. Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.
What a huge mandate! ALWAYS be full of joy in the Lord. Looking over our life the last few weeks and the many challenges, it has been a physical, mental, emotion and spiritual battle to maintain the Peace of God in our lives. Many times it has felt like a literal altercation with the enemy as he has tried to take captive my mind, will and emotions causing my body to be fatigued although never lifting a finger in the fight. Don’t worry about anything. Yeah, right?! I used to worry about everything until cancer came into our life. I have definitely learned to pray more (not quite about everything yet) in an effort not to be buried beneath the weight of oppression and a very heavy heart. I have no problem (like many) telling God what I need so now I focus on thanking Him for all He has done. Rather than moaning and groaning about cancer coming for a fourth time, I thank the Lord for the three times that He has healed and delivered our son from this deadly disease which only reinforces faith and confidence that the Lord will do it again. Yet in all of this, I struggle to maintain peace. Worry waits behind every door. Anxiety is heightened when the phone rings. Fear looms in the background anxious to overtake me. I want to experience God’s Peace every single day of my life in every situation. It exceeds anything that we can understand even something as dreadful as cancer. His Peace has the Power and Strength to guard our hearts and minds…as you live for Christ. Hang on! When did that get added to this power verse? It has always been there but as in so many things, we are only looking for what we get out of it and stop there.
Job 3:25-26 (NLT)
What I always feared has happened to me. What I dreaded has come true. I have no peace, no quietness. I have no rest; only trouble comes.”
Peace is the state of existing during the absence of war. It is not a feeling or emotion by definition but rather a position. Sometimes the only way you can find peace is when faced with a war. Si vis pacem, para bellum means “if you want peace, prepare for war.” Translated it means peace comes through strength. What happens when what you fear most actually happens? What if the very thing you dreaded came true? Would you have peace in the Lord? Would you be still and know that He is God? When every knock on the door brings bad news and every call another problem – what then? Will you have peace? If you want the peace that passes understanding, you must be willing to fight for it. It is found in the Strength and Power of God that demands total human weakness and absolute reliance on His Grace. Your flesh is disinterested in fact it will fight back. Self-preservation kicks in and there is inner turmoil that must be decided if you will ever find peace.
Job 22:21-28 (NLT)
“Submit to God, and you will have peace; then things will go well for you. Listen to his instructions, and store them in your heart. If you return to the Almighty, you will be restored so clean up your life. If you give up your lust for money and throw your precious gold into the river, the Almighty himself will be your treasure. He will be your precious silver! “Then you will take delight in the Almighty and look up to God. You will pray to him, and he will hear you, and you will fulfill your vows to him. You will succeed in whatever you choose to do and light will shine on the road ahead of you.”
The words of Eliphaz as he attempts to help Job in the midst of his problems may not have applied to God’s Servant but they are totally credible in most situations. Job was a righteous man by the Lord’s Own Description so submission to God was not his issue. This does not mean it is not someone else’s dilemma. Submit to God. Every time I hear the word “submit” it reminds me of a good friend who is a might woman of God. Many years ago, she instructed me kindly and loving of course but directly on submission to God and my husband. Her words stung at first but as they began to sink in, I began to study submission and slowly (too slowly) began to exercise it in my life experiencing its great worth day by day. Those who submit to God are promised peace and a good life. It is God’s Plan for our life. (Jeremiah 29:11) God’s Instruction not only read but committed to memory and inscribed on our heart will end our battle with doubt when faced with conflicting opinions. God restores us in His Presence. He must become our treasure. Submission is not a lowly position forever. As we bow before the Lord in humility, He in turn lifts us up! (James 4:10) As a wife submits to her husband, so we submit our lives to the Lord and gain intimacy. Such intimacy allows God to hear us and fulfill His Promises every one. You will succeed in whatever you do in submission to God because His Strength and Power now prevail in your life making all things possible by faith.
Psalm 34:14 (NLT) Turn away from evil and do good. Search for peace, and work to maintain it.
These words seem so simple but yet are complex for those who are undecided between good and evil. One would think it is an obvious choice, but having been there myself this is not always the case. The Plan of God is reserved for those who seek Him wholeheartedly. (Jeremiah 29:13) Seldom do we get that far stopping at plan, future, good and hope. We want peace but have no idea where to find it and have no interest in putting any effort into it. Peace is found in commitment. (Isaiah 26:2-4) Trust in the Lord – FULLY allows us to live in PERFECT PEACE. This does not mean that you will have a perfect life. (Psalm 23) But in the midst of life’s imperfects, God’s Peace accompanies you. It makes a way for you. It refreshes you. It prospers you in the face of your enemy. Your life will overflow with blessings when they devil thought he broke you. This is the peace God promised His People. Peace is found in contentment. (Psalm 4:6-8) Yesterday in church, I was holding a precious toddler. At the end of praise and worship, she fell fast asleep clutching the folds of my shirt and pressing into my chest just over my heart. As her nap progressed in the midst of the shouting, clapping and noise, she began to snore lightly. She was totally content. I must admit I was totally captivated by the peace in that moment. I believe this is the kind of peace offered by God to His People even in the midst of the chaos of this life – we can rest in His Arms. Peace requires conformity to Jesus Christ and His Way. (Psalm 4:3-5) We must have the same attitude that Jesus Christ had when it comes to our dealings in this life. Sometimes this poses a challenge to our pride, but the sacrifice is worth the blessing of His Peace. It is worthwhile to search for the Lord’s Peace and work to maintain it.
Psalm 85:10-13 (NLT)
Unfailing love and truth have met together. Righteousness and peace have kissed! Truth springs up from the earth, and righteousness smiles down from heaven. Yes, the LORD pours down his blessings. Our land will yield its bountiful harvest. Righteousness goes as a herald before him, preparing the way for his steps.
Righteousness and peace are partners. They cannot exist in conflict or compromise but must work together in the life of every believer. Sin keeps us from right standing with God so we must be diligent in avoiding it. Unfailing Love (God) and Truth (Jesus Christ the Word made flesh) have met together and produced an opportunity for every man and woman to experience peace with the Lord once more. Righteousness will bring quietness and confidence forever which is peace. (Isaiah 32:16-18) God began planting seeds of peace and prosperity for His People long ago. (Zechariah 8:11-13) We must search for it and work to maintain it. Rebuilding the temple is no longer an external effort but internal transformation.
Psalm 120:6-7 (NLT)
I am tired of living among people who hate peace. I search for peace; but when I speak of peace, they want war!
What a true reflection of the world in which we live though there is a mantra for peace, there is no peace just escalating conflict. No life is left untouched. Even the church is undecided and in a state of constant disagreement. So if you want peace, you must prepare for war because that is exactly what is coming. The enemy wants to steal, kill and destroy your peace and keep you separated from the Lord. He rallies day and night unhindered. But I have Good News! Peace lives in us. (John 14:26-28) His Name is Jesus. (Isaiah 9:6-7) He is the Prince of Peace. Jesus owns it and has all rights to it. You are a Child of God identified by having the same spirit. (Matthew 5:9) Your pursuit of peace confirms your identity. You may have many trials and fight many battles but you can overcome them all! You win! Peace belongs to you! (John 16:33) Our sinful nature fights against peace as it is total submission of our heart and mind to the Lord. (Romans 8:6) But the God of Peace (I Corinthians 14:33) will soon crush satan (Romans 16:20). What is the Lord waiting for? For you to find peace and work to maintain it! Fight for your right to live at peace with God. Stand firm on faith. Choose to live in the Light of His Love and leave the darkness behind. In righteousness and fully submitted to God – you will have His Peace that passes all understanding!
Romans 5:1-2 (NLT)
Therefore, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us. Because of our faith, Christ has brought us into this place of undeserved privilege where we now stand, and we confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing God’s glory.