July 4, 2012

God’s Perfect Peace

What does it take to trouble a heart? For me, external circumstances seldom do it. Lately, my battles with unrest are internal, in my thoughts. Two days running, bad dreams have messed with my mind, dreams that are difficult to shake off as “only a dream.”
A college professor told me that dreams mean nothing unless you remember them. If that happens, then look for an issue in your life that needs some consideration or resolution. For me, this was good advice, yet today, there is no resolution for the issue of last night’s dream. Instead of fixing something, or letting that something trouble me, I need to go to the One who can give me peace of heart, regardless of unresolved problems. He promised He would do that.
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)
The disciples were troubled by Jesus’ words about leaving them. Even though He promised to send the Holy Spirit, that didn’t give them peace, at least not the peace that is based on having life be the way they wanted. So He promised them a different kind of peace, His peace. 

His peace is not like the peace of the world that depends on circumstances. Jesus never promised a rose garden for His disciples, but troubles. Nevertheless, He offered us something better.
I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world. (John 16:33)
When Paul wrote letters to the churches, this amazing peace was a frequent theme. He told the believers in each city to remember that they had this peace of Christ, a peace that could reign in their minds and hearts no matter what was going on.
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)
And he came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near. (Ephesians 2:17)
And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:7)
This peace is for all, those near to Christ and even those who are still “far off” yet seeking Him. It is a collective peace — that is, for the entire body of believers, not just a few who are more prone to serenity. It is a peace that goes beyond reason, making no sense, yet nonetheless real and deep.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. (Galatians 5:22–23)
This peace is not a state of mind that I can conjure up. No matter how many peaceful thoughts I have, no matter how many beaches or lakes or quiet places I picture in my mind, the peace of God is not mine unless the Holy Spirit has filled my heart and controls my life. For that to happen, I must keep short accounts with God and humbly rely on Him. When I can do that, then He fills my heart with Himself — and with peace.

Lord, Your Word says that, “You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you” (Isaiah 26:3). I cannot “fix” any issues in my life, never mind fix the mess in this world. Instead of fretting over any of it, You remind me that You give perfect peace. You have overcome the world and You can overcome my problems. I turn my thoughts toward You and rejoice that You are my peace.

No comments: