Read His Words Before Ours!
Even after 5 years, it is hard for my husband, Michael, and I to wrap our minds around the betrayal and heartbreak from our last pastorate.
Our children grew up there.
It was home.
Once we could finally breathe after the breaking, we struggled with all the decisions. Do we find a new church or retire early? Where would we live? How would we survive?
Thankfully, God had already prepared me spiritually, drawing me closer and closer to Him. I was spending much time in Bible-reading and prayer. Although everything seemed unsettled, I felt indescribable peace. God had a plan for us!
Reading a Psalm or two each day was comforting; David’s words expressed exactly how we were feeling. The Shepherd’s Psalm has been my favorite for many years. Though it never mentions peace, I experience a calm in my heart every time I read it. I remember the farm where I grew up, and wonder if David reflected on his own childhood in his father’s pastures as he penned the words.
What does peace mean to you?
Many might answer world peace, or an absence of conflict, but God’s peace isn’t about laying down our weapons. In fact, Jesus promised His message would cause tribulation and conflict, because the true source of the battle is spiritual. (Matthew 10:34) We live in a fallen world, one incapable of manufacturing its own peace.
“They have treated my people’s brokenness superficially,
claiming, ‘Peace, peace,’ when there is no peace.” (Jeremiah 6:14)
On the other hand, Isaiah said Jesus is the Prince of Peace. (Isaiah 9:6) Through His propitiatory death on the cross, He made a way to peace between us and God. When we repent from our sins–turning away from following evil desires and toward following God–He will give us His Holy Spirit. Peace is one of the many gifts the Holy Spirit grows in a believer’s heart! This peace of God surpasses all understanding. (Philippians 4:7-9) God’s peace remains, EVEN when the world around us is stormy.
The Bible is filled with God-followers who found peace in relationship with Him, despite their circumstances. Daniel’s daily relationship with God gave him peace and faith that God would protect him from being consumed by lions. (Daniel 6) Consider Peter when he walked on the stormy water at Jesus’ invitation. (Matthew 14:22-33) As long as he remained focused on Jesus, Peter walked in peace in the midst of a literal storm. We can find this same supernatural peace by continually turning our minds and hearts to Jesus. (Isaiah 26:3)
Peace describes a way of living in a right relationship between man and God; peace should also pervade our relationships with other people. In his epistle to the Romans, Paul says, “If possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone” (Romans 12:18) Working to live at peace with others is only possible when we invite the leadership of the Holy Spirit in our lives. When we are moving by His direction, He teaches us to become the peacemakers Jesus speaks of in His Sermon on the Mount. (Matthew 5:9)
In fact, the Bible is filled with Spirit-empowered peacemakers! Abraham made peace with Lot (Genesis 13); rather than fighting over land, he allowed Lot to choose his portion. Abigail was an effective peacemaker when her husband, Nabal, refused to feed David’s army. Abigail gathered food and gifts and hurried to David to make peace. (1 Samuel 25)
Of course, Jesus is the Great Peacemaker. He explained, “I have told you these things so that in Me you may have peace. You will have suffering in this world. Be courageous! I have conquered the world.” (John 16:33) Through the work of His Spirit within us, we can remain at peace, no matter what the world throws at us.
Theologian, Stanley Horton, writes, “Real peace comes only from the Holy Spirit. It includes a quiet spirit, but it is more than that. It is the consciousness that we are in a right relationship with God, a sense of spiritual well-being. It includes the assurance that we can trust God to supply all our needs. (Philippians 4:19) Along with love and joy it becomes the help of the Spirit for the development of the rest of the fruit.” (Journeyonline.org)
How can we experience this fruit of the Spirit, peace?
- Accept Christ into our lives. (Ephesians 2:14-22)
- Know God and be under His Spirit’s control. (Job 22:21)
- Trust God with all our hearts. (Isaiah 26:3-4)
- Love the Word of God. (Psalm 119:165)
- Live in righteousness. (Isaiah 32:17-18)
Sisters, as we are transformed by His Spirit, may the peace of God, which passes all understanding, guard our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:7)
Embracing God’s fullness in our lives is rooted in scripture and memorizing His word is vital to our continued growth and depth with Jesus. Tap and hold from your mobile device to download this week’s verse and make it your phone’s lockscreen!