The world’s definition of peace: things are going well, there aren’t any problems and if everything goes well, I can have peace.
God’s definition of peace: during the storm you have MY peace
Scripture tells us to seek two things:
Seek God (Matthew 7:7-8)
Seek Peace (1 Peter 3:11)
We are still in the topic of fear and stress. It’s a huge distraction in our life that comes in many different forms and we need to be prepared and armed for the battle at hand. When we live under stress, we’re in some fashion, believing that our life and world are our responsibility. We become so anxious about planning out every detail and it leads to us being distracted and often times let down because our unspoken expectations weren’t met. Living for our personal purposes and in our mission makes us too distracted to hear God’s plans for our lives (Proverbs 16:9) and miss the treasures God’s path has for us in each moment. Reading through the Old Testimate we see this is true over and over “they did what was right in their own eyes” Judges 17:6
We can’t make peace on our own, it comes from keeping our eyes on Jesus and trusting He will do what He says He will (God can not lie!). We are told to walk in step with the Holy Spirit and His fruits. (Galations 5:22-23
In my pursuit of earthly peace, I missed out on so many things in life. I was living with a Martha heart and not a Mary heart.
Satan wants to use every opportunity to take us into fear, worry, anxiety and stress so that he can steal, kill and destroy our peace and joy. God, however, wants to use every situation to grow us spiritually, to teach us how to have kingdom peace in the middle of the challenges and pains of life. He wants to grow our spiritual muscles so that we are trained and prepared for His plans, the plans He created for us before the foundation of the earth (Ephesians 1:4). With every stretch and strain comes practice and growth. Every circumstance is an opportunity for us to choose life, to choose God, and be transformed into His likeness as we draw closer into an intimate relationship with Him.
The more we view situations in our lives as opportunities to grow and move closer to God, the more we will feel His peace. The more we find peace the more we seek it and the more unshakable we become. We learn to trust in the truths of scripture and apply that trust to all things. We need to come to a place where we accept that peace comes from within and living in the presence of God. If we wait for all our circumstances to be good for us to be happy, we miss the greatness of real joy, not to mention – we miss life.
If we believe that every word of the bible is God-breathed and true, shouldn’t we also live that way by applying it to every situation? A love relationship with God is the only way to overcome the challenges and stressors in life. I spent years trying with my own power to control everything. I’d take scripture and say to myself I will ‘do’ peace, I will ‘do’ joy, I will ‘do’… but then the Holy Spirit would stir my heart – “JUST BE AT MY FEET”. As a doer; as a performance-based person, that didn’t make sense to me!! I didn’t know how to be a doer of the word yet, sit ́ at His feet – that was, until the day I did just that.
I was overwhelmed with my to do list, had low self-esteem, lack of sleep and a large feeling of not having a purpose. I was stressed to the max and so tired I could hardly handle it.
My life had been shaken and had been shaking for years. I had built my life on a foundation of accomplishment and it was quaking under me because each accomplishment I did have wasn’t any form of foundation at all, because with every mistake my foundation ́would quake below me. It was like standing on a thin stack of cups, plates and bowls stacked haphazardly as I’d try to balance on on one foot at the top of the unmatched set of unbalanced dishes.
I was standing at the top of my mess, trying to look like I had all things together, but I was dying inside, I had no idea how to handle it anymore. I hit the final straw, and everything came tumbling down.
I grieved the loss of my dad, the choices from my past, the heartbreak I had caused myself, God and others and I grieved the fall of my false sense of security that I had been living under hoping everything would just work out without me doing anything. I was hoping that eventually some glue would solidify the false ways I was living and just let me stay there.
I had lived for years, my whole life, on an entire set of false belief systems. Through my sobs I cried out to God to help me, pretty much the only thing I knew how to pray, and as I reflected on my past 6 year journey with quiet time in the Word, He revealed to me that to change and live for Him, my false tower had to come down, my pains had to be dealt with, I had to repent and I had to learn to stop trusting myself and start trusting Him. I had been living on total dependence on myself, and He was calling me to walk and live differently! He was calling me to a death to self and to become a new creation in putting all my trust in Him.
My dad’s passing was the biggest heart break I’ve ever experienced, yet God used it to put me here today. It broke the false foundation I was trying to balance on, I began and will continue to journey toward a healing and awakening that only God can bring. I will choose every day, even when I don’t feel like it, to align my thoughts and my actions with the Kingdom of God and I will commit my life to working hard to live trusting Him fully.
God needs to be our foundation and God alone.
What are we working for?
My dad worked hard is whole life, but also made time for people and impacted the lives of many. And as I reflected on his life and where I was currently sitting, I saw that I was working super hard to accomplish things that weren’t really making a difference to anyone, especially not for God and not even in my own home. Heck all my agonizing wasn’t doing any good to me either. (waste of time…)
At that point I looked up to the heavens and I repented for my need to control and the fear that lead me to that way of living. I said “Father, please forgive me for carrying all my burdens alone and not trusting you to handle all my cares. Forgive me for thinking that I need to earn love, when the truth is you already love me more than anything. I give you all of my Life, Father, not just some aspects of it. I commit myself to your will, your ways and your time because they are far greater than mine. please use me any way you desire. In Jesus name, Amen.” Something changed in that moment.
I literally felt the burden of life leave my shoulders and haven’t felt that kind of pressure again. I get anxiety at times still, but I again say my confession and give my life over. And each time I put my eyes back on Jesus and off me, The Holy Spirit’s flame within me grows abundantly, fear, worry and anxiety leave and peace and joy overflow.
The Holy Spirit works within each of us every single day to take us from our infancy in our faith to a mature, nation changing, purpose living maturity. It only requires that we co-operate with God by taking our thoughts captive to experience kingdom growth.
Next time, we’ll talk about the internal beliefs behind fear and anxiety.
Scripture to help with mind renewal
Hebrews 12:14 – Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord
Psalm 24:19 – Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but God delivers him from out of them all.
John 8:32 – and you will know the truth, and the truth will set your free.
Psalm 112:7 – He is not afraid of bad news; his heart is firm, trusting the LORD.
Psalm 23:4 – Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.