August 26, 2016

How to have peace . . .

Today Chambers says, “There are times when our peace is based upon ignorance . . . .” because we are oblivious to the stuff that we are doing against the will of God.

This reminds of those who ask me if or when I’m going to go after a doctorate degree. My most recent response was, “I am not ready to learn more —I haven’t caught up to what I know now.”

Ignorance can be bliss. A pastor friend used to say, “What I don’t know won’t convict me.” This was tongue in cheek, but it is true. If God had shown me all the sin in my life when I was first saved, I may have committed suicide!

Being convicted of sin is painful for those of us who love Jesus and want to reflect His goodness and purity. We are not proud of our sinful old nature. However, there is a cure for the pain of guilt. Besides confessing, repenting, and cleansing God speaks of in 1 John 1:9, Jesus offers an inner peace that is beyond understanding and does not rely on ignorance.
In fact, this peace is for those who have awakened to the facts of life. Our ignorance has been chased away by the Word of God and the Holy Spirit. God has used the experiences of to increase our awareness of reality as well. Regarding His peace, two passages come to mind:

“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)

“Do not be anxious about anything, 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 understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6–7)

The interesting thing about this wonderful peace is that it no one can snap their fingers and create this wonderful peace. It is an amazing sense of God being in control — and because that is true, then we do not have to be anxious or fearful about anything. This peace comes from Jesus Christ and is put into my heart and mind — yet at the same time, it requires my cooperation.

Jesus says, “Let not your hearts be troubled . . .  or afraid.” Some people actually enjoy being in a dither. It is their lifestyle. I’ve experienced this in a small measure and if my memory is right, I was in that state as an attention-getting device. Others may do it for different reasons, but regardless of the motivation, Jesus says I need to be willing to let go of worries and fears, rather than allowing them to fuel me up with distress.

The other requirement is prayer. Worry does not go away by itself. I must pass on to God the things that upset me, trusting Him to take care of them and expressing that trust in thanksgiving. Then He pours His amazing peace into me, amazing because it does not make sense to have peace when life is full of so many anxiety-creating circumstances. But it does make sense because Jesus also said:

“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)

The peace of the world depends on being in an ideal situation. The peace of Jesus Christ depends on abiding in Him, full of faith and being filled with His Spirit — who graciously gives His children His almost unexplainable peace.

No comments: